Alumna Sherri Jefferson Awarded FDHA Healthcare Champions Chairman Award & 11Alive CSA

Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumna, Sherri Jefferson (’95), was recently award the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority (FDHA) Champions Chairman Award, as well as the 11Alive Community Service Award in 2014.

On Sunday, December 7th, the Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority hosted its healthcare champions’ awards ceremony at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. It was the third year for the event and more than 200 people attended. Jefferson received recognition for founding the African American Juvenile Project. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.

Additionally, Jefferson received the 11Alive Community Service Award in May 2014. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.

Office of Academic Achievement Spring 2015 Calendar

PDF of Office of Academic Achievement Spring 2015 Calendar

Date Time Event
Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:00 p.m.-1 p.m.

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

3L/4L GeneralBarTalk

Room 609

Saturday, February 28, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Thursday, March 5, 2015 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Bar Examination Overview Georgia Office ofBarAdmissions Presenter:Leigh Burgess

AttendanceMandatoryforMay Graduates


Spring 2013graduates


Saturday, March 7, 2015 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. MPRE Workshop

Prof. Boone

Saturday, March 7, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 3LBarEssayWriting Workshop for

May Graduates


Friday-Sunday, March 27-29, 2015 Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday: 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.



 3LMultistate BarExamination (MBE) Workshop for May 2015 Graduates


Saturday, March 28, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Saturday, April 11, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Saturday, April 25, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours

SBA to Host Masquerade Barrister’s Ball at Opera Nightclub, April 11

Each spring the Student Bar Association hosts the Barrister’s Ball for the law school community as an opportunity to take a break from classes and enjoy an evening socializing with classmates, professors, alumni and friends. This year will be no different as the SBA will hold this year’s ball at Opera Nightclub on April 11, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This year, students, faculty and staff tickets are free. Guest and alumni tickets will be on sale for $20. There is no RSVP needed to attend, but attendees will be required to pick up their tickets and pay for guests tickets prior to the day of the event. Ticket tables will be held in the lobby from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on:

  • March 25th
  • March 30th
  • March 31st
  • April 1st
  • April 6th

The theme for this year will be masquerade. For more information, please contact SBA Secretary Meaghan Eustice at

Professor Lisa Tripp Discusses Future of Greek Economy on CNN

Prior to the polls coming to a close in Greece’s recent election, Professor Lisa Tripp spoke with CNN’s Jonathan Mann via Skype to discuss the future of the country’s economy.

After the election, Tripp joined CNN’s Amara Walker and Michael Holmes on CNN Today to weigh-in on the new Prime Minister’s economic challenges.

Lisa Tripp is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta Georgia. She teaches Health Care Law, Torts and Remedies. Professor Tripp practiced health care law and commercial litigation prior to joining the faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006. As an attorney for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Professor Tripp focused primarily on long term care enforcement. She litigated many cases involving physical and sexual abuse, elopements, falls, neglect and substandard quality of care. Professor Tripp currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Leadership Council of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. She has served on health quality measurement committees and panels for the National Quality Forum and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Professor Tripp received her law degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C.

You may view a sample of the CNN Today discussion on our Facebook page, linked below:


Alumna Tiffany Jones Ellenberg Sworn in to the Governor’s Indigent Advisory Panel

Tiffany Jones Ellenberg, ’98, was recently sworn in to the Governor’s Indigent Advisory Panel by Governor Nathan Deal. This special committee monitors the progress and funding for Georgia’s Public Defender Standards Council and works in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Legislation, the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors to provide advice, expertise and advocacy on behalf of systemic reform designed to satisfy the State’s constitutional obligation to provide adequate counsel for indigent persons accused of crime.

While serving on the committee, Ms. Ellenberg will maintain her private law practice in Madison, Georgia, where she handles primarily litigation cases.

Congratulations, Tiffany!

Professor Michael Mears Appears on GPB Radio to Discuss Georgia’s Death Penalty Law

Professor Michael Mears appeared as a guest on the GPB Radio program On Second Thought (hosted by Celeste Headlee) on Tuesday, January 27.

Mears discussed the history of Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons. The timely discussion was prompted by the scheduled [Tuesday] execution of Georgia inmate, Warren Lee Hill. Also covered on the show was the history of Georgia legislation, as it pertains to the death penalty, and the high standard which a person must overcome in order to prove that they are indeed mentally disabled.

You can listen to the segment online here.

Professor Mears served for over 15 years as a criminal defense attorney before joining the John Marshall faculty in 2007. His practice was dedicated to indigent defense, and he served as lead counsel in over sixty death penalty trial and appellate cases since 1984. Professor Mears was appointed as Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council in 2004, and served from 1992 to 2003 as a Multi-County Public Defender for the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. Prior to entering his public defender practice, Professor Mears was the Partner-in-Charge of Litigation at McCurdy & Candler, a firm specializing in civil and banking law. In 2007, he was appointed as Co-Chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Indigent Defense Committee and as a member of the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.

Professor Patrice Fulcher Quoted in The Economist

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Patrice Fulcher, who has been quoted in a headline article in the 24 January 2015 issue of The Economist.

Patrice Fulcher is a Tenured Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where she teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Her scholarship focuses on issues surrounding the Prison Industrial Complex; prison privatization, the exploitation of prison laborers, the effects of the utilization of prison video visitation systems, and other profiteering schemes that benefit from mass incarceration in the U.S. Professor Fulcher has dedicated her entire career to the fight for equality of all disenfranchised people, and quality representation for the poor.

The article, Conditions Behind Bars: Screening Visitors–Prisons Profit By Stopping Family Visits, quotes:

Complications may arise from all this. Lawyers may claim that communicating with their clients only through video calls is a violation of due process, says Patrice Fulcher of John Marshall Law School. The possibility of recording such conversations could also lead to the leaking of privileged information. “This whole situation exploits people on the inside and their families on the outside,” Ms Fulcher says. 

For six years, Professor Fulcher organized and chaired the AJMLS’s Fred Gray Social Justice Seminar. In 2011 she was recognized for her outstanding and impactful service to the law school and legal community.

Prior to joining AJMLS in 2007, she served as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Georgia Capital Defender and the Fulton County Public Defender offices. She was a Senior Staff Attorney for the Fulton County Conflict Defender, and worked in the Felony Trial Division of the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. She has successfully represented indigent clients facing the death penalty as well as all other major felony and misdemeanor offenses. Additionally, Professor Fulcher has provided representation and research for abused and neglected children with the DeKalb County Georgia Juvenile Court, and litigated against unconstitutional jail conditions and practices with the Southern Center for Human Rights. She is a core instructor for Gideon’s Promise (formerly known as The Southern Public Defender Training Center), and has been a litigation instructor for The Kentucky Death Penalty Institute, The Mississippi Office of the State Public Defender Training Division, The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, The Fulton County Public Defender Office, and the American Bar Association NACDL National Defender Training Program.

Professor Fulcher has lectured extensively on mass incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex across the U.S. (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), the erosion of the 4th Amendment, capital defense, juveniles charged as adults, client-centered representation, successful defense trial investigations, and effective storytelling techniques for public defenders. In 2014, she was asked to provide an expert opinion to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the adequate criminal procedure for congressional contempt proceedings.

Professor Fulcher received her B.A. from Howard University in 1992, and her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1995.

LL.M. Alumna Christina Harris Schwinn Published in Northeastern University Law Journal

LL.M. in Employment Law alumna Christina Harris Schwinn has been published in the Northeastern University Law Journal. The article was adopted from Schwinn’s LL.M. thesis. The article on overtime compensation authored by the Pavese Law Firm partner is titled, “Half-Time or Time and One-Half? Recent Developments Deprive Employees of their Rightful Overtime Compensation Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” The article discusses the legislative history and the applicable statutory provisions and regulations, as well as analyzes the Seventh Circuits holding in the *Urnikis-Negro *decision. The case involved the payment of overtime compensation based upon half-time to the plaintiff essentially retroactive in an exempt misclassification case under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C.

Schwinn’s asserts that the application of the fluctuating workweek methodology of paying the overtime in a misclassification case is improper, and is not authorized under the FLSA, its regulations, interpretive bulletins or under the United States Supreme Court’s holding in *Overnight Motor Transp. Co., Inc. v. Missel*, 316 U.S. 572, 62 S.Ct. 1216 (1942).

“While much about business and employment has changed in the movement from the industrial age that existed in the 1930s to the technological age of today, the underlying purposes of the FLSA have not,” Schwinn concluded in the article. “Congress passed the FLSA to ensure that covered employ­ees were paid the minimum wage, to ensure they were compensated for overtime work, and to encourage employers to hire new employ­ees rather than working existing employees long hours.”

Schwinn received her second Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on May 19. The LL.M. degree is an advanced law degree with a focus on a particular practice area. Schwinn’s second LL.M. is in Employment Law and her first LL.M. is in Real Property Land Development and Finance Law which she received from the University of Miami’s Graduate School of Law in 1991.

Schwinn’s primary practice areas are employment law, business transactions, community association law and real estate law. Schwinn is an accomplished public speaker and regularly writes articles that have been published both locally and nationally in a variety of publications. Schwinn is available to speak to local businesses and organizations on a variety of employment law topics and she can be reached at 239-336-6228 or

AJMLS Honored at the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Community Outreach Award

This week, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was recognized at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Community Outreach Awards Ceremony for the work done by the law school’s Office Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. The department attended the event where they received the Community Outreach Award from Loranzo Fleming, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Community Outreach Coordinator and Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

The Community Outreach Awards are intended to recognize individuals and community partners who have been exceptionally supportive of the office’s community outreach programs over the past two years. Yates acknowledged the important role Renata Turner, Bridgett Ortega, and Natasha Berry have played in the areas of reentry and crime prevention.The Pro Bono and Experiential Learning department was also recognized for their Street Law program at Booker T. Washington High School which teaches practical law to high school students using interactive teaching methodologies. The department was further acknowledged for their Home for Good Reentry Forum which assists citizens returning from prison in overcoming legal barriers to reentry.

Congratulations to the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning for making such a noticeable impact in the community.

Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 5, 2014

The Alumni Office held a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2014 bar exam passers and other AJMLS alumni on November 5, 2014. The Alumni were sworn into the Supreme Court of Georgia and Fulton County Superior Court.  They were honored to be sworn in by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There was a reception for friends and family held after the ceremony.  Here are the pictures from the event that can be downloaded for personal use. If you have any questions about the event, please contact the Alumni Office.

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”2″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails”]

John Marshall BLSA Chapter Donate Time and Food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), in conjunction with the SBA, recently donated over 440 pounds of non-perishable items to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The staff at the food bank was overjoyed at the sizable donation and expressed their gratitude for the students and staff who worked tirelessly to collect cans for a great cause.

Additionally, the John Marshall BLSA chapter was recognized by the Southern Region of the National Black Law Students Association (SRBLSA) for its work in the community. During their annual Academic Retreat, SRBLSA reported that the AJMLS chapter contributed the largest amount of canned goods in the entire region. The BLSA executive board would like to thank all who contributed to this wonderful cause. For more information on BLSA, visit the Student Organizations page of the website. The Atlanta Community Food Bank is always looking for volunteers and donations. More information about this organization is available on their website.

Four AJMLS Students Receive GABWA Scholarships

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce that four students recently received scholarships from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA). The GABWA Foundation is committed to providing scholarships to black women attending Georgia law schools to insure that the pipeline of black women entering the legal profession remains strong. Since 2002, the GABWA Foundation has awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to African-American women law students.

Be sure to congratulate the following students for being awarded GABWA scholarships:

Uchenna Mary-Anne Uzoka, 3L
Christle Guinyard, 2L
Yesenia Muhammad, 3L
Amber Reed, 3L

The students will receive their scholarships at the GABWA Honors Brunch on December 13, 2014. For more information on GABWA and how to qualify for a GABWA scholarship, visit their website.

AJMLS Students Advance to Final Round at 2014 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently sent two teams to compete in the 2014 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition at Mercer University. The competition consisted of two preliminary rounds where the teams negotiated two fact patterns received in the weeks leading up to the competition. Following the conclusion of the two preliminary rounds, the competition pool was reduced from 24 teams to four. The law school is pleased to announce that the team of Robert Rentfrow (1L) and Jeff Sayer (2L) was one of the four teams, together with three teams from Florida International University, to advance to the final round.

This is the third time in the past four years that John Marshall has placed a team in the final round of the Regional ABA Negotiations Competition. This is a great accomplishment for The Boardroom and the law school as a whole. The team would like to specially thank alumnus Ben Stidham who competed in the 2012 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition. Ben generously donated his time and experience to work with the team on this year’s problem and traveled with the team to Macon the day of the competition. The law school is extremely privileged to have such devoted alumni who continue to support the school and its students.

Congratulations again to Robert and Jeff on this outstanding accomplishment and their wonderful representation of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

John Marshall Ranked 4th Most Diverse Law School by National Jurist

Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law. Therefore, it is a great honor for the National Jurist to name Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School the fourth most diverse law school in the nation in their winter issue. Other top diverse law schools joining John Marshall on the list are Texas Southern University (1), University of the District of Columbia (2), University of La Verne (3), and Florida A&M University (5). In the article, National Jurist explained how the rankings were determined.

“We broke down each school into six categories – percentage of minority faculty; percentage of black students; percentage of Asian and Hawaiian students; percentage of Hispanic students; percentage of American Indian students; and percentage of Caucasian students. We assigned each school a score from one to 10 for all categories, except for American Indians. We assigned each school a score from one to five for that category, given the much smaller number of students.

A school that matched the U.S. national average for any race received a seven (or 3.5 for American Indian), and a school that was 30 percent or greater than the national average received a 10 (or 5 for American Indian). We then weighted the student categories as 75 percent of the final diversity score and faculty at 25 percent. The final outcome is a list of schools that have a breadth of races both in student bodies and faculties.”

The full article gives prospective students and law schools a detailed look into what socioeconomic factors have caused an increase in black and Hispanic students while simultaneously creating a decline in white and Asian students. Regardless of the trend, a diverse law school should offer more than just ethnic diversity. At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, the student population are also diverse in life experiences and professional background. A well-rounded understanding of diversity allows John Marshall to continue producing practice-ready, ethical, and knowledgeable members of the legal community.

For more on the various programs the law school provided, view our program offerings.

State Bar President Speaks to First Year Students

Perkins HookerPresident of the State Bar of Georgia, Patrise Perkins-Hooker, accepted an invitation from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and spoke to approximately 100 first year law students. The program was the final installment of the Atlanta’s John Marshall Fall Professionalism Series and was held on Friday, November 7th, 2014, from 1 P.M. – 2 P.M. at the Blackburn Conference Center . The topic discussed was “Your Professional Obligation to Give Back to Your Community. ”

The Professionalism Series is part of the law school’s ongoing effort to help students establish good practices and high ethical standards early in their training.  It is also an opportunity for them to meet practitioners and members of the judiciary who exemplify the ideals of the profession.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, vice president and general counsel of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., was installed as president-elect of the 45,000-member State Bar of Georgia on June 22 during the organization’s Annual Meeting.

Having previously served on the Board of Governors and Executive Committee and as secretary (2011-12) and treasurer (2012-13), she will become the first African American and the third woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia in its 50-year history when she is sworn into that office in June 2014.

Perkins-Hooker is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Emory University Law and Business Schools. She is very active in community work, serving and/or leading many community organizations, including Hosea Feed the Hungry, an organization that serves hungry, homeless, and other disadvantaged citizens. She was admitted to the Bar in 1984.

AJMLS Welcomes Exchange Scholar Professor John Travis Marshall to Speak

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School welcomes Exchange Scholar from Georgia State University (GSU) College of Law, Professor John Travis Marshall to the law school for an engaging and in-depth discussion surrounding issues on environmental law. Professor Marshall will speak at the law school on October 22, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the Blackburn Conference Center and present his paper entitled, Assessing Metropolitan Resiliency: Laying The Foundation For Urban Sustainability Under Threat Of Climate Change And Natural Hazards. Students interested in environmental law, land-use planning and law, and/or state-local government law are invited to attend.

Professor Marshall is an Assistant Professor of Law at GSU.  He is interested in the challenges associated with the growth and contraction of urban areas. In particular, Professor Marshall studies private, nonprofit and government interventions to promote long-term urban recovery from crises and disasters.  In his work at the university, he is also a key player in GSU’s interdisciplinary Center for the Comparative Study on Metropolitan Growth.

Professor Marshall joined GSU from Yale Law School, where he was a clinical lecturer in law and the Ludwig Community Development Fellow. From 2007 to 2011, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA). In that role, Professor Marshall advised NORA on post-Hurricane Katrina implementation of the Authority’s urban revitalization efforts, including land acquisition, development, and disposition programs.

Prior to his work in New Orleans, Professor Marshall was a partner with Holland & Knight LLP, specializing in land use and zoning matters as well as real estate litigation. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Professor Marshall earned a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law. He teaches Environmental Law and Land Use Law.

AJMLS Shines at Atlanta Bar Association’s Celebrating Service Luncheon

The Atlanta Bar Association recently held its annual Celebrating Service Luncheon and Pro Bono Fair at the Piedmont Driving Club where Professor Jonathan Rapping was the keynote speaker. The occasion celebrated the best volunteer work and programs from Atlanta’s three largest pro bono legal service organizations: the Atlanta Bar Association, Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. Founded by Hunton & Williams partner and past Atlanta Bar president Rita Sheffey, the event was designed to publicly recognize individuals in the legal community who dedicate themselves to serving others.

John Marshall alumni Nilufar Abdi-Tabari was one of many award recipients at the Celebrating Service Luncheon. She received the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Safe Families Champion of the Year award. Also, the law school is proud to mention that AJMLS was recognized for being the only law school with 100 percent faculty membership in the Atlanta Bar Association. A full list of award recipients can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

AJMLS Alumnus and Professor Quoted in AJC on Immigration

When it comes to the debate on U.S. immigration; neither U.S. Rep Doug Collins (Class of 2008) or Professor Joseph Rosen are strangers to the discussion.

In an article recently published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), both Collins and Rosen, along with several other law professors were given the opportunity to share their views on revamping the nation’s immigration system.

The article quotes Professor Rosen, who teaches Immigration Law at AJMLS, as saying; “This is the opportunity for the president through executive action, and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys through prosecutorial discretion, to do the right thing. It is time for America to show the compassion and justice that are the foundations of this country.”

Prior to serving the 9th District of Georgia, Collins earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School over his first term representing District 27 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and has also served the community as the senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church.

Prior to founding the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, Professor Rosen served more than 30 years with the U.S. government. For 20 of those years Joe was an FBI Special Agent and a U.S. Customs Special Agent. Rosen is an Adjunct Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School (teaching Immigration Law, Seminar: Asylum & Refugee Law), past President of the North Fulton Bar Association, a former contract legal instructor with the U.S. government, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

You may click here to view the article in its entirety.

AJMLS Celebrates Pro Bono Month This October

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Office of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships (PBOE) celebrates Pro Bono Month this October as part of Georgia’s Pro Bono Month and National Pro Bono Week.

Year round, the AJMLS Pro Bono Program reinforces the mission of the law school – promoting the development of a student body and faculty with a strong social conscious and dedication to improving the legal system and society.

Highlighted October Events & Opportunities

Would you like to coach a high school Mock Trial Team?

Please attend the informational meeting on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 1:00PM in Room 302 or email Travis Foreman at

Home for Good: Overcoming Legal barriers to Reentry Team

Meets every Wednesday in Room 302 at 5:15PM.

Guns Rights and Wrongs: Balancing the Interests

Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:00PM-7:00PM

Blackburn Conference Center Auditorium and Reception Hall, 1405 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

School Discipline Legal Workshop

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett

12 Bethesda Church Road in Lawrenceville, Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:00AM-12:30PM

Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center (GSAC-CAC)

Is looking for students to assist attorneys assisting victims of sexual assault. Interested students should contact Ms. Seterria Brodnex, Victim Assistance Attorney: 770-497-9122 Ext. 31.

Additional Information & Contacts

Approved Placements

Pro Bono FAQ

Judge Renata Turner, Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning

Bridgett Ortega, Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning


The Honorable Wendell Willard Visits John Marshall

The Honorable Wendell Willard, Chairman of the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, recently visited Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to speak to Professor Michael Mears’ Evidence class.

State Representative Willard led a decade long fight to have the model rules of evidence adopted in Georgia. It was largely through his efforts that Georgia adopted the rules, before being signed into law by Governor Deal. While at the law school, he spoke Mears’ class of about 80 students about the successful  efforts to adopt the new model rules which became effective on January 1, 2013. Willard is also a member of the Georgia House of Representatives Rules Committee and the City Attorney for Sandy Springs, GA.

The law school was honored to have Mr. Willard on our campus to speak with our students. For more information on the State Representative Wendell Willard, visit the Georgia House of Representatives website. Information on Professor Mears is available on his faculty profile.

Almuna Tracee Benzo Receives ‘Top’ Honor from Atlanta Business League

The law school is pleased to announce that alumna, Tracee Benzo was named one of Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Women of  Influence for 2014. For years the Atlanta Business League has recognized African-American female business owners, professionals, community and civic leaders in Metropolitan Atlanta. In 1994, the organization began publishing its list of influential African-American women in hopes of educating and inspiring the next generation of female leaders. 

The list reflects the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government.

Being named one of Atlanta Business League’s ‘top’ women of the year is a testament to Tracee Benzo’s dedication and service to the community she practices and lives in. Currently, Benzo is a partner at Hasner Law where she serves injured workers and accident victims across the state of Georgia. After graduating from the law school in 2008, Benzo became an active member of the John Marshall Law School Alumni Board and was one of two alumni to receive the school’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2014. She is also the President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).

Congratulations once again to Tracee Benzo for having her work recognized by the Atlanta Business League!

Professor Tripp, Guest Speaker on FOX Business Channel

FOX Business channel recently aired a news segment featuring Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Lisa Tripp. Professor Tripp was a guest on MONEY with Melissa Francis discussing amongst a panel of experts the referendum in Scotland and their currency options if they chose independence . She was contacted by FOX based on her recent article, Lessons for Scotland from Greece’s Euro Tragedy, which explored what Scotland can learn from Greece’s euro tragedy. “This article focuses on the risks small nations can face in a currency union, as told through the prism of Greece’s experience in the Eurozone,” says Tripp. Her article is available for download via the Social Science Research Network. More information on Professor Tripp can be found on her faculty profile. Congratulations to Professor Tripp on her first appearance on national television.

Professor Mears Discusses Ethics at Georgia Public Defenders Council Lecture

Professor Michael Mears was recently asked to prepare and present a course and lecture for the Georgia Public Defenders Council entitled Ethics for Public Defenders. The Council subsequently decided to use Mears’ presentation as a statewide webinar lecture on ethics, as well as a learning tool on the Council’s YouTube channel.

The one-hour lecture has already been used by over 400 public defenders and it is expected that the viewer list will continue to grow. The engaging and insightful lecture is available below. More information about Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Results: SBA Representative Elections

The Student Bar Association at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would like to thank the entire student body for taking the time out of their busy schedules to participate in the 2014-2015 SBA Representative Elections. The votes have been counted and the winners are as follows:

  • 1L Section A Representatives: Hayley Settles and Victoria Arzu
  • 1L Section B Representatives: Jessica Gomez and Sara Wardlow
  • 1L Part Time Evening Representatives: Megan McCulloch and Shaquana Ellison
  • 1L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Callie Adams
  • 2L Full Time Representatives: Travis Foreman and Sarah Metz
  • 2L Part Time Representatives: Lynda Parks and Alicia Thompson
  • 3L Full Time Representatives: Danielle Douglas and Essence Beal
  • 3L Part Time Representative: Michelle Reilly
  • 4L Part Time Representative: Chantiel Bell

On behalf of the law school, congratulations to those who were elected! Students are free to contact either the SBA Executive Board or the appropriate class representative with questions or concerns as the primary objective of the SBA is to articulate the views of the student body to the administration and faculty. For more information on the SBA or other student organizations at the law school, visit the Student Organizations page.

Professor Jonathan Rapping Named MacArthur Genius Fellow

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to announce that Professor Jonathan Rapping was named a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow for the impact his non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise, has made on society. The MacArthur Fellow Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Dean of the law school, Malcolm L Morris, expressed to the entire John Marshall community, “This is a momentous honor and his dedication should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

In 2007, Rapping created the Southern Public Defender Training Center, subsequently renamed Gideon’s Promise. Named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, Gideon’s Promise teaches public defenders to work more effectively within the judicial system by providing coaching, training, and professional development as well as a supportive network of peers and mentors from around the country. The growth Gideon’s Promise has experienced since its founding is due to the vision and dedication of Professor Rapping. The organization has grown from a single training program for 16 attorneys in two offices in Georgia and Louisiana, to a multi-tiered enterprise with over 300 participants in more than 35 offices across 15 states.

While Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise has been revolutionary in training and improving the nation’s public defenders, the MacArthur Foundations insists that the fellowship “is not a reward for past accomplishments, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.” The MacArthur Genius Fellow Program is intended to encourage recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“I can’t imagine a greater personal honor, nor a more significant validation of the work mission of Gideon’s Promise and the amazing work of everyone in this community,” says Rapping.

This year, Professor Rapping established a partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, marking the first time the Gideon’s Promise model will be integrated into a statewide defender system. The MacArthur Foundation states that “Rapping’s effective and replicable model of teaching, mentorship, and professional networking is an innovative prescription for equitable legal defense and is safeguarding the essential democratic right of every American to high-quality legal representation regardless of ability to pay.”

Professor Rapping shares this accomplishment with poets, mathematicians, musicians, computer scientists, filmmakers, and more from around the world. For additional information on Rapping and the other 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellows can be found on their website. Once again, congratulations to Professor Jonathan Rapping for inspiring and impacting the world in such a meaningful way.


Pro Bono Assistant Director to Speak at 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to announce that Bridgett E. Ortega, Assistant Director for the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning, will speak at the Accountability Courts Conference. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center during the week of September 14-18, 2014.  Sponsored by the Judicial Council of Georgia, the theme for this year’s conference is A Decade of Reform, Restoration and Results.  Organizers hope that attendees will leave more informed and prepared to shape the future of accountability courts in Georgia and around the country at the conference. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference and work from academics and professionals across disciplines will be presented.

Bridgett E. Ortega, M.A., J.D. will be co-presenting with retired Judge Henry Weber, a session entitled “Ethics for Juvenile Drug Court Judges, Prosecutors and Attorneys.” She will also be presenting a session entitled “Targeting – Getting the Right Youth for the Juvenile Drug Court.” In addition to working at the law school, Bridgett is president of the board of directors for the National Juvenile Defender in Washington, D.C. She has served over 25 years in legal and programmatic positions aimed at juvenile justice reform. She is a zealous advocate for children and adults whether as a public defender, researcher, or in her role as policy consultant.  

For more information on the 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference, visit their website. Once again, congratulations to Mrs. Ortega on yet another outstanding professional accomplishment.

AJMLS Professor Travels to New Mexico Detention Center to Represent Immigrant Children

Joseph Rosen, Immigration Law adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School  will travel to an immigration detention center in New Mexico next week to represent some of the Central American detainees who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosen will be helping immigrant children and their parents determine if they have viable claims for asylum in the U.S. and seek relief from deportation. A former U.S. Customs Service special agent, Rosen will be doing the work in Artesia, N.M., for free in connection with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“For those with little or no resources that still see the U.S. as the sanctuary against evil that they have been subjected to, these hearings are their only hope,” Rosen said on his law firm’s Facebook page. “It humbles me to be a part of this and it also satisfies my sense of adventure and excitement to be a part of this effort.”

Read the full article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

AJMLS Helps Launch Free Family Law Clinic in Fulton County

The Superior Court of Fulton County Family Division in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association (GHBA) is pleased to announce a new pilot project beginning this September designed to address the growing need for legal assistance for the self-represented individuals in family court. The Fulton County Family Law Clinic (FLC) will provide legal services to low income persons, including non-English speaking litigants, involved in family matters. Under the direction of professor, attorney and GHBA member, Bernadette Olmos, third-year law students at AJMLS will be actively engaged throughout the year in interviewing clients, completing child support worksheets, assisting unrepresented litigants with paperwork for simple divorces, name changes and legitimization, and representing clients at status conferences, mediations, uncontested hearings and TPO hearings.

Attorney Olmos stated, “The externs in the FLC are able to gain valuable insights into the operation of Fulton County’s Family Division while dealing with actual client matters. They also are able to develop a better understanding of the legal and socioeconomic problems common in the practice of law.” These services will extend the current assistance offered by the Family Law Information Center allowing for litigants to receive additional support.

“The dearth of attorneys available for low to middle income families has created a civil representation gap that continues to grow. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to be a small part of the solution filling that gap while providing a rich and exciting educational experience for our students. The Family Law Intensive Externship Clinic is a win-win for the school, the court, and the citizens of Fulton County,” says Renata Turner, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. “The GHBA is honored to partner with the Fulton County Superior Court Family Division and AJMLS in such a worthwhile endeavor. This is an undertaking that will directly address a need in underrepresented communities while providing the law students, many of whom are minorities, with a priceless opportunity to develop legal skills and experience first-hand the value of community service. The project falls squarely within GHBA’s mission and we hope to continue this partnership for years to come,” says Ana Maria Martinez, President of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association.

According to Yolanda L. Lewis, District Court Administrator, “The addition of a new, innovative clinic further reinforces the Superior Court’s commitment to community engagement. This project is a natural extension of our pledge to promote public awareness to the mechanisms available to those truly in need.” The Superior Court of Fulton County is dedicated to the administration of justice within the Atlanta Circuit, 5th Judicial Administrative District. Coupled with that dedication, we are also committed to operational transparency and forming stronger bonds within the community we serve. “Through such partnerships, the Superior Court has the opportunity to demonstrate to the law students the value of using one’s legal skills to meaningfully assist people within their community. In addition, being able to practice in a court setting is an invaluable learning opportunity that helps prepare students for future practice,” stated Deputy Chief Judge Wendy Shoob.

Beginning Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the clinic will be held each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Family Law Information Center located in the Justice Center Tower, Suite T-704 at 185 Central Avenue, SW, Atlanta, Georgia.

Alumnus Sworn in as Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee

The law school is proud to announce that alumnus, Justin Angel, was elected and sworn in today as the Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee making him first circuit court judge to be elected from Bledsoe County, which is the smallest county in the district. At age 33, Angel was one of the youngest people to hold a trial judge post in Tennessee. He’s also the first Republican in three or four decades to hold a trial judge’s seat in the 12th Judicial District and the first to hail from Bledsoe County.

He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “I made no secret about my age. I think citizens everywhere I campaigned were excited about a fresh face, new blood and new ideas, and someone with youth, enthusiasm and passion.” To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website.

Congratulations to Justin Angel for this outstanding accomplishment and well-deserved honor. The law school looks forward to sharing your future achievements.

Alumnus Desmond Humphrey Discusses DUI Charges and Second Chances with Atlanta Legal Experts

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus, Desmond Humphrey and a panel of other legal professionals were interviewed by Atlanta Legal Experts Radio this morning to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) and the implications of being found guilty of a DUI. The interview also included an interesting debate discussing if individuals should take field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.

When asked if he thought criminals deserve second chances, Humphrey cited his strong religious beliefs and passion for criminal defense as his reasons why everyone deserves a second chance. “Jesus’ love for us qualifies us to receive second, third, and even fifth chances and for me to be able to help someone receive a second chance is why I practice criminal defense.”

Humphrey recently opened a criminal defense law firm named Humphrey Law & Associates, LLC which allows him to seek justice for clients from all walks of life. The Atlanta-based firm is committed to taking a problem-solving approach to the practice of law. Humphrey attributes a large part of his success to the education he received at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

“John Marshall is truly a school that teaches you how to practice law in addition to learning the law. I have had a few cases that I was able to settle in favor of my clients due to the knowledge I received while in school,” said Humphrey.

In addition to opening his own firm, Humphrey partners with two fellow John Marshall alumni, Victoria Bridgman and Ashley Black, to work with a non-profit organization called Lawyer Up which focuses on educating the youth and the community at large about the law.

For more information on Desmond Humphrey, please visit his firm’s website. Congratulations to yet another John Marshall alumni on their post-graduate success.

AJMLS Alumna Discusses Personal Injury and Opening Her Own Firm in Radio Interview

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert was recently interviewed on Atlanta Legal Experts Radio regarding personal injury law. Joined by Carol Allen, Amy Pierson, William Vincent, and Charlotte Merritt, Jennifer talked about making a name for herself fighting for her clients’ rights through her firm, The Gore Law Firm, LLC.; which specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, and diminished value cases, located in Alpharetta, Georgia.

During the radio interview, she discussed how to handle a collision caused by an uninsured and underinsured driver, how to find eye-witnesses after a collision, how eye-witnesses can sometimes make or break a case, and special scenarios in personal injury cases that can lead to punitive damages.

Jennifer graduated from John Marshall in 2012 and served as the Student Bar Association president in her 3L year. In addition to being in SBA while in law school, Jennifer was also a member of the AJMLS Chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, was named a Peer Mentor of the Year, Outstanding Student of The Quarter, worked part time in the law library, and worked at a law firm specializing in personal injury. Jennifer credits John Marshall for having a significant impact on her legal career saying, “I am grateful for the opportunities that my legal education has given me.”

She is currently a member of The North Fulton Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a board member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers as the Chair of The Communications Committee, and Leader of the “Working Moms Lunch.” Jennifer lives with her husband, Angus and their daughter Julia in Roswell, Georgia.

Congratulations to Jennifer on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments and memberships. The full audio of Jennifer’s interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio can be found on their website. For more information on Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert and her new firm can be found at The Gore Law Firm, LLC.

Professor Mears Discusses Death Penalty with the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, was recently interviewed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss delayed justice in Walker Co., GA where many inmates sit on death row for decades while the families of their victims are left to wait hopelessly for justice to be served. In the article, Professor Mears explained the process by which death penalty cases are assigned to local judges and the roles which the courts must play in insuring that each defendant in a death penalty case has a qualified defense attorney.

An excerpt from the article reads:

Michael Mears, the head of the Multi-County Public Defenders Office that represented indigent defendants in capital cases throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, said a district attorney can’t blame the defense in this type of case. The prosecutor has to move the case forward because the defense is always going to delay any hearings. One more day of delays means one more day their client stays alive.

“If people are awaiting death and are waiting for something in the case,” Mears said, “there is no great incentive to push it forward.”

“A lot of district attorneys shy away from it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work. Quite frankly, it’s the responsibility of the judge … It starts with the judge. The case is on his docket. He’s got to stay on top of it. Now, some of these cases fall through the cracks.”

To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website. More information on Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio Interviews AJMLS about its Expanding LL.M. Program

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio recently interviewed a diverse group of legal professionals all associated with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School: Associate Dean for Scholarships, Jeffrey Van Detta; LL.M. Program Director, Lisa Kaplan; LL.M. in American Legal Studies alumna, Anna Sokol; and J.D. alumna, Tiffany Simmons.

Tiffany and Anna have gone on to used their John Marshall education to impact the legal community. Tiffany is an attorney at Simmons Law, LLC where she  counsels clients in the areas of business, criminal, and entertainment law. She plans to return to AJMLS to pursue her LL.M. in Employment Law this fall. Anna works with the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group P.C. where she specializes in working with foreign athletes, entertainers, artists, foreign professionals, and U.S. businesses seeking to employee foreign professionals.

The four John Marshall representatives discussed, in detail, the law school’s three LL.M. programs with host Emily Rowell. Interview questions ranged from the a breakdown of each programs benefits to how the new rule in Georgia that allows foreign-trained attorneys with LL.M. degrees to sit for the Georgia Bar exam will impact the program.

The full interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio contains valuable information for J.D. graduates, foreign or U.S.-trained, that are interested in pursuing an LL.M. degree in the areas of Employment Law or American Legal Studies. More information on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s innovative LL.M. programs can be found on the school’s website. LL.M. Director, Lisa Kaplan, is also available at

*Note: the LL.M. Program in Employment Law is still accepting applications for its Fall 2014 entering cohort. Apply today!

Article from Professor Fulcher Listed on SSRN’s Top Ten Download List

An article from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Patrice Fulcher, was recently listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN) Top Ten download list for the topic Security and Safety. The article also reached the Top Ten downloads list for the Criminology eJournal, Political Economy – Development eJournal, and the Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal on SSRN. Professor Fulcher’s paper, “The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex,” discusses how the rise of video visitation in prisons may appear beneficial to maintaining strong family ties when in actuality it robs inmates of face-to-face interactions with their loved ones. For more, read the Abstract below. The full article can be downloaded through the SSRN website.


Each year, the United States (“U.S.”) spends billions to house the country’s massive prison population. The need to board over 2.3 million incarcerated human beings has U.S. correctional departments looking for ways to increase revenues and offset costs. According to these correctional agencies, one major expense is prison visitation. In order to reduce spending and alleviate safety concerns, U.S. federal, state, and private correctional facilities have turned to video visitation as an alternative to in-person visits.

The use of prison video visitation systems started in 1995. Since then, many private telecommunications companies have professed to have the solution to correctional visitation problems. These companies promote video visitation as a cheap, safe, and easy alternative to in-person visits, as well as a profitable means of generating revenues. Government and private correctional institutions, buying into these endorsements, have reduced or completely eliminated face-to-face visits and installed video visitation systems within their walls. Under this structure, inmates use video stations in their cellblock to visit family and friends at corresponding video kiosks within the institution; or inmates visit loved-ones who are at home or elsewhere outside prison walls via computer Internet video visitation.

In order to sell this method of visitation to the public, U.S. correctional agencies contend that video visitation helps to keep families together by allowing inmates greater contact opportunities with loved ones. In some regards, it may be argued that video visitation does assist in the preservation of family units. Inmates are often forced to serve time in prisons miles away from their homes, so outside visits are far and few between. Yet, through the use of in-home video visitation configurations, inmates are able to connect with relatives who reside hours away.

At first glance, this visitation scheme may seem beneficial, but this Article argues that prison video visitation is a double edge sword. First, prison video visitation may help preserve family units while people are incarcerated, but the elimination of face-to-face visits robs inmates of much needed human contact with their children, spouses, and other family members. Second, almost all in-home prison video visitation systems exploit the relatives and friends of inmates because they charge excessive fees to visit. Third, the economic success of prison video visitation systems is contingent on the number of incarcerated humans. So, like other profiteering schemes of the Prison Industrial Complex (“PIC”), prison video visitation incentivizes incarceration: A decrease in the prison population has a corollary effect on million dollar revenues and corporate profits, hence compelling the need to detain more U.S. inhabitants.

Consequently, this Article argues that face-to-face visitation should be the primary means of contact for families that visit at prison facilities. In order to accomplish this goal, inmates must be assigned to correctional facilities close to their homes if space is available and there is no proven risk to security. Additionally, if prison video visitation is utilized, any fees associated with its use must be regulated to insure that the financial expense is not exorbitant.

More information on Professor Fulcher can be found on her faculty profile.

Professor Dalton Discusses Priest-Penitent Privilege in The Washington Times

Fueling the debate over priest-penitent privilege, is the recent ruling in the Louisiana Supreme Court which states that a teenage girl’s confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case. A recent article by The Washington Times says, the Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court’s decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Kari Dalton, was consulted and offered her expert opinion on the decision. She says, “I think it’s a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes.” Professor Dalton adds, “When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues.”

Professor Dalton teaches Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II and Pretrial Practice & Procedure at the law school. She is also the author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”

To read the full article, visit The Washington Times website. More information on Professor Dalton can be found on her faculty profile.

AJMLS Alumna, Tannyka Bent, Tells the Daily Report How She Stays Grounded

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Tannyka Bent says her many activities keep her grounded in a recent interview with the Daily Report. Bent is an artist, who recently donated one of her paintings to be auctioned at the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts gala. She plays softball, kickball and flag football on local club teams, and is looking for a basketball team. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity many Saturdays and teaches Sunday school on Sundays. Tannyka Bent does all of these things in addition to being a transactional attorney for the State Road and Tollway Authority in Atlanta. Below are some highlights from Tannyka Bent’s interview with the Daily Report. For the full interview, visit their website.

With so many talents and interests, what got you into law?

I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. My mom has a good friend who is an attorney, and I interned with him when I finished Mercy College in New York. That clinched my decision. In law school, I loved transactional drafting and received the CALI award for having the highest grade in that class.

I like the law because there isn’t a black-and-white answer to anything. You can be creative in how you interpret it.

Where do you get inspiration?

It can be a natural scene, a painting I see or a color I like. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down on little pieces of paper. My pockets, purse and wallet are filled with them. I like to let the ideas breathe a bit, and when I start to work the feelings will come.

For the abstract work that I call “Marley,” I used the bright colors that said Jamaica to me and lots of energy in the lines. I was born in the U.S., but my parents came from Jamaica, so it’s part of my heritage.

Is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity a physical outlet as well?

Yes, but it’s more than that. I started working with the Cobb County group two or three years ago. I went through the training to become a crew leader, so I’m often putting down the hammer to explain to five or six others how to put together a wall. Helping to build houses is fun and I’ve learned so much.

Do all these different activities affect your career in any way?

Yes, they keep me grounded. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing, but if all I did day after day was draft contracts, I’d worry about getting burned out. This way, I stay fresh. There’s always something new to do.

Professor Joseph Rosen Discusses Immigration in Special Fourth of July Podcast

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Joseph Rosen was recently interviewed by Mark Deal from U.S. Immigration Podcast in a special Fourth of July episode. As America turned 238 years old, Professor Rosen was selected to speak on the history and future of immigration in the country. Rosen also discussed topics such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, security of the U.S./Mexican border, the discrimination surrounding immigration law development, and more.

Professor Rosen is the managing attorney for Joseph H. Rosen, Immigration Law Group.  He began practicing Immigration Law in June 2001 after retiring from the U.S. Government where he spent 20 years as a Special Agent for the FBI and U.S. Customs.  His law enforcement career includes 10 years of working on or near the U.S. /Mexico border.  He teaches immigration law, as an adjunct professor, at the law school and is a Clinical Director for the school’s Immigration Law Clinic located at Catholic Charities Atlanta.

To listen to the full podcast featuring Professor Rosen, visit U.S. Immigration Podcast.



Professor Mears Discusses the Upcoming Execution of Marcus Wellons

Marcus Wellons, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1989 is set to be executed on June 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.

However, instead of a three-drug cocktail formerly used, the state of Georgia wants to use one drug — sodium pentothal — to execute Marcus Wellons. In small doses, it is a sedative. The state wants to use a custom-maker to actually make the drug — because the drug manufacturer that normally makes it won’t sell it to conduct executions. However, the identity of the new manufacturer that will make the lethal injection meant for Marcus Wellons is remaining a secret; making Wellons the new face of the argument over how to carry out Georgia’s death penalty.

“It’s an experimentation process that’s going on here. And they’re doing it in secret,” said Mike Mears, a lawyer, former mayor of Decatur, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor who has opposed the death penalty his entire legal career.

A new state law allows the state to keep secret who made the drug that would put Wellons to death. “I get drugs to treat an animal, and they have to tell me more than the state of Georgia is telling us about how they’re going to kill Marcus Wellons,” Mears said.

Marcus Wellons is due to die today, on the gurney in Jackson — unless his attorneys successfully challenge the secret source of the chemicals that would kill him. The full article and video can be found at 11Alive. For more information on Professor Mears, view his faculty profile.

Professor Rapping Speaks on Unequal Representation for the Poor

A recent article from The Guardian calls on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping to discuss unequal representation for the nation’s poor. In the article by Sadhbh Walshe, the issue of wealth and its connection with acquittals, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences were discussed. Professor Rapping insists that, “Money determines who sits in jail pre-trial. It determines who takes a plea deal, it determines who gets to have a trial and it can influence the outcome of a trial. This is not how our legal system is supposed to work.”

Walshe goes on to say: Public defenders today are dealing with caseloads that far exceed the recommended federal maximums established in 1973, and they’re cutting back on case spending because of it. “No matter how zealous, talented or passionate an attorney is,” says Rapping, “they cannot perform at their best when they are overworked and under-resourced.” Pit that lawyer against a team of high-powered attorneys with their accompanying “expert” witnesses, investigators, scientific tests, gloves and all, and someone who relies upon the Sixth Amendment doesn’t stand a chance.

Read the full article at The Guardian. An in-depth profile of Professor Rapping can be found on the law school’s faculty page.


AJMLS Alumna Wins Unpaid Overtime Case, Featured in Daily Report

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Amanda Farahany was featured in the Daily Report for the recent verdict handed down by an Atlanta judge  who awarded more than $173,000 to Farahany and Severin Roberts who won a $6,097 verdict for their client in an unpaid overtime case.

In an order awarding Atlanta law firm Barrett & Farahany $173,300 in legal fees and expenses, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. said that even though plaintiff Kelly Cain may have succeeded “in only a limited way,” she still prevailed on her only claim against her former employer, Almeco USA Inc., and persuaded the jury that the company’s violation of federal Fair Labor Standards Act was willful.

The jury’s finding that Lawrenceville-based Almeco Inc. willfully failed over the course of two years to pay overtime to Cain led Thrash to double the damages to $13,814 (including interest and other costs).

Attorneys Farahany and Roberts, who served as cocounsel for Cain, said the case —over claims that her bosses required her to work unpaid overtime —should never have gone to trial.

Farahany said, “Once you go to trial, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I think Judge Thrash recognized that and told the company exactly what they should do in a situation when you’ve got $25,000 in overtime in a case. … The judge realized this was a case that shouldn’t have been tried.”

Congratulations to Amanda Farahany and Roberts for their win and feature in the Daily Report. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School looks forward to many more accomplishments for Barrett & Farahany.

AJMLS Student Selected for Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School student, Spencer Fredericks along with 15 first- and second-year law students have been chosen to join the highly selective Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class of 2014.

The clerks will assist public defender offices in the Southeast that partner with Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization founded by AJMLS Professor Jon Rapping that works tirelessly to mobilize and train public defenders to provide the highest quality representation to people unable to afford an attorney.

As clerks, the students will be empowered to develop disciplined skill sets that will prove critical as they transition from students to the court room.

“These 16 students represent a small fraction of the young legal talent who are committed to improving the standards of the criminal justice system and to ensuring fair representation for all,” says Professor Rapping. “The experience they will receive as law clerks will serve as a cornerstone to their profession. We are proud of these outstanding students for their accomplishments and for their dedication to serving our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

This year’s Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class includes:
Spencer Fredericks, first-year, Atlanta John Marshall Law School
Amanda Belier, second-year, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Rachel Berman, second-year, Emory University School of Law
David Clark, second-year, George Mason University School of Law
Melissa DiRado, second-year, Syracuse University College of Law
Nicole Duncan, first-year, Loyola Law School
Caroline Heicklen, second-year, Georgetown University Law Center
Charles Henniger, first-year, Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Aaron Horth, second-year, Boston University School of Law
Amanda Koons, second-year, Northwestern School of Law
Tamara Lee, second-year, Charleston School of Law
Alicia Luncheon, first-year, University of Georgia Law School
Jessica Mann, second-year, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law
Logan Noblin, second-year, UCLA School of Law
Veronica O’Grady, second-year, University of Georgia Law School
Nathan Stuckey, second-year, University of California, Berkley

Four of the 16 law students chosen for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program are from Georgia law schools.

The Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program is a partnership between Gideon’s Promise, participating law schools and public defender offices in the Southeast. The program recruits talented students who are specifically interested in leading proactive solutions that improve the struggling indigent defense system; have completed at least one year of law school; and display the characteristics and passion required to become a promising public defender.

Last year, Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Gideon’s Promise currently partners with more than 32 public defenders offices across 13 states including: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Congratulations again to Spencer Fredericks on being selected for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program.

AJMLS Alumnus Represents Plaintiff for Botched IV Test Injury

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and Alumni Board member, Lawrence Schlachter, M.D., J.D., has garnered headline recognition in the Daily Report for a major trial win for a medical malpractice plaintiff.  According to the Daily Report, a Fulton County jury awarded more than $4.4 million to a man claiming permanent injuries when a bit of radioactive tracer solution leaked into his arm during a cardiology test at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. Along with Schlachter, the plaintiff was also represented by Lloyd Bell and Darren Summerville.

For more information on the article, “Jurors Hold Plaintiff’s Hand, Then Put $4.4M Into It” can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

Footnote from AJMLS Professor Used in Dissent of Justice Benham

The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the Warren Lee Hill case. Hill was sentenced to death following the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate in the Lee County Correctional Institute, in which Hill beat the victim with a board embedded with nails.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was quoted in a footnote by Justice Robert Benham who dissented along with Justice Carol Hunstein. The footnote used from Professor Mears is based upon a Daily Report article in which Mears discussed the unconstitutionality of the State Secret Act which protects the identity of the executioners and the names of the drug manufacturer.

Their dissent cited a botched execution last month in Oklahoma, Benham saying Georgia’s approach to executions could lead to such “macabre results.” Benham wrote that the secrecy law has the effect of creating “star chamber-like proceedings.”

The footnote reads:
“See also Land, Greg, Oklahoma’s Botched Execution is a Wake-Up Call in Georgia, Says
Law Professor, Daily Report (May 1, 2014), quoting Professor Michael Mears as follows:
“The defense bar is …about protecting the Constitution. How do we know what [drugs] they’re using and not telling us about?”

The full article can be found online through the Daily Report.

AJMLS Professor Accepts the Eleventh Annual Ridenhour Prize for Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army, an HBO documentary about the non-profit organization of AJMLS professor Jon Rapping, recently received the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film follows three young public defenders as they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours, low pay, and trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point.

The annual Ridenhour Prizes recognize acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society. In reflecting upon its decision, the awards committee said, “We are thrilled to have selected Gideon’s Army which celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves.”

Professor Rapping accepted the award with Gideon’s Army director and producer, Dawn Porter. An excerpt from his speech reads:

Now, I started my career as a public defender here in D.C. which is one of the few really well functioning public defender offices in the country. I wasn’t aware at that time about this crisis, and then I went south and worked in Georgia and Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. And I saw criminal justice systems that just processed human beings, that literally accepted an embarrassingly low standard of justice for poor people. And I met these young inspired public defenders who would go into this work for the right reasons and very quickly have the passion beaten out of them. And soon they would either quit or they would become resigned to the status quo.

And so that led to my wife and I starting Gideon’s Promise, an organization that recruits, mentors, trains and support public defenders in an effort to build a community of change agents to go into courtrooms and broken systems and remind them of our American ideals.

Well, we started in 2007 with 16 lawyers and two offices. We will this summer have roughly 300 public defenders from 15 states. [applause] As we were building this, we realized we needed someone to share this story with the country, with the world. And so we started looking for a filmmaker, a storyteller, and we met Dawn Porter. Dawn was a new filmmaker. We invited her to come down and meet our lawyers. We had no idea at the time how brilliant Dawn is. We had no idea at the time how committed she would become to this cause and we certainly had no idea the impact that her work would have.

And what Dawn has done with “Gideon’s Promise” is she has reminded us that we can’t have equal justice without public defenders. She’s reminded us that public defenders are heroes. She shined a light on the public defenders who do this work and the people that they represent, which is a critical first step to raising our national consciousness and addressing this issue.

The full video of Professor Rapping’s acceptance speech is located below.

John Marshall Law Journal Climbs Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to recognize the John Marshall Law Journal’s ascent in the Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings. Since its inception in 2008, the law journal has climbed nearly 200 spots on Washington & Lee’s cumulative score index for student-edited U.S. law journals and reviews. The law school is proud to see how far the law journal has  come in such a short time. It is also impressive to see that the John Marshall Law Journal outranks some well-recognized journals. For more information about the John Marshall Law Journal and other student organization, click here.

AJMLS Students Participate in Law Day at the Georgia Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students recently participated in Law Day. Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, to recognize the role of the courts in our democracy, the importance of jury service and maintaining the integrity of the courts.  The official Law Day designated by Congress in 1961 is May 1st.

Georgia holds Law Day during the month of May at different locations around the state like churches, the Georgia Bar, community centers, and high schools. This year’s Law Day event was held at the Georgia Bar. The theme set by the American Bar Association for this year was ‘American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters’ due to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The event was held in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools (APS), several Georgia Bar Associations and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.  The morning session was focused on educating APS high school students and registering them students to vote.  AJMLS students participated in registering students and providing voter simulations. The evening session was a CLE for attorneys open to the public.

Panel discussions were held with leaders from the League of Women Voters, Counsel of the GA Democratic Party, Georgia Republican Party, Georgia State Law Professors, The Carter Center, Amnesty International, UGA Law Professors, the Human Rights Network, SVP of Legal at CNN, the Georgia Secretary of State, Civil Rights Activists, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients and a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

AJMLS 1L Students Shine at the Intraschool Moot Court Competition

First-year students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently competed in the law school’s Intraschool Moot Court Competition. With the guidance of professors, alumni and the Moot Court team, these 1L’s proved that they possess the skill and talent needed to excel in their legal education and careers. Congratulations to the winners of the Intraschool Moot Court Competition:

*Best Appellant Oralist: Amber Reed
*Runner-Up: Emily Napier


*Best Appellee Oralist: Shawnta Williams
*Runner-Up: Ingrid Saffrey

*Best Appellant Brief: Stephanie Housefield
*Best Appellee Brief: Ingrid Saffrey

The competition was the culmination of a great deal of hard work from many divisions within the law school. Professors Cato, Dalton, Doneff, Gelin, Jaffe, Jeffries, and Luna worked tirelessly to prepare their classes for the competition. Many members of the Moot Court helped bench students in their Legal Writing classes.

Professors Tandy and Van Detta, along with alumni coaches Michael Bauer, Ben Stidham, and Thomas Lyman, devoted their entire Saturday to judging the advocates who made it to the Semi-Final Round. Stefanie Hilliard, Nick Kitchens, Ella O’Kelley, Kim Stahl, Drew Turner, Tracy Udunka, Mathis Wilkens, and Daniel Ybanez helped judge and coordinate the various levels of the competition.

Student/alumni Moot Court brief graders spent countless hours grading bench briefs. The brief scoring team consisted of alumni Ben Stidham (Chair), alumni coach Michael Bauer, Irena Chernova, Homer Jordan, and Rodrigo Silvo.

The advocates did such an outstanding job that Judge Ray from the Georgia Court of Appeals told the courtroom full of AJMLS students that he now understood how the John Marshall Moot Court team was able to beat his law school (UGA) at Georgia Intrastate.

Under the direction of the faculty advisor and alumni coaches Michael Bauer and Thomas Lyman, the Moot Court program has made tremendous strides this year. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is eager to see how this next generation of advocates will further advance the AJMLS Moot Court program.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy Invites AJMLS Professor to Teach Trial Advocacy Basics

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation’s leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA pioneered the legal skills learning-by-doing methodology over 40 years ago and has since remained the ultimate standard in continuing legal education.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Suparna Malempati was recently invited to join the Rocky Mountain team to teach new lawyers the basics of trial advocacy.  She spent fours days training the participants on closing arguments, direct examination, and cross examination skills. You can read more about her experience on the Advocacy Teaching Blog.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA’s mission is to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy;
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice; and
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.

For more information about NITA, please visit the website at View a full list of Professor Malempati’s published articles and media appearances on her faculty profile.

Daily Report Interviews Professor Mears on Botched Oklahoma Execution

“The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on Tuesday should serve as a wake-up call to Georgia officials scrambling to find ways to put inmates to death without trampling constitutional guarantees and basic human decency,” said Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, in a recent interview with the Daily Report.

Professor Mears, who is also the founding director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, spoke candidly with the Daily Report about the recent execution.

“This is certainly not the first botched lethal injection execution, and if the states continue to allow prison guards to ‘play doctor’ we will have more of these outrageous execution botches,” said Mears. “It is one thing to kill a person. It is another thing to conduct experiments on them under the guise of carrying out an execution.”

The full interview can be found on the Daily Report’s website. For more information on the published works, media appearances and accomplishments of Professor Mears, visit his faculty profile.

AJMLS Street Law Program Completes its Second Year with a High-Energy Mock Trial

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, hosted the 2nd Annual Street Law Mock Trial on April 23, 2014, at the United States Federal Courthouse.  John Marshall students and Assistant U.S. Attorneys met at Booker T. Washington High School bi-weekly to teach various legal topics to 10th and 11th grade students from Ms. Carrie Dean’s Business Law class as part of the Street Law program. The program culminated with an in-depth mock trial presentation.

The Honorable Timothy C. Batten, Sr., United States District Court Judge, presided over the mock trial. Students from the Atlanta high school argued the mock case of the State of Georgia v. Daniel Capulet. In the scenario, Capulet was indicted for murder, felony murder, and aggravated assault for the May 14, 2011 shooting of Philip Newton.  After great legal arguments from the students and robust jury deliberations, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict and Judge Batten directed counsel to retry the case again next year.

The Street Law program teaches practical law to laypersons using interactive teaching methodologies.  It empowers youth to use their knowledge to solve problems, better their communities, and become active and knowledgeable participants in society.

John Marshall students and recent graduates worked the entire spring semester teaching practical legal courses and preparing high school students for the mock trial. The students involved include: Aklima Khondoker, Alexander Silpa, Allison Lawrence, Courtney Gilkinson, Ellakisha O’Kelley, Emily Napier, Erin King, Eugenia Wallace, Gina Smith, Jackie Tyo, Hannah Mitchell, Jason Ross, Jaye Cole, Jeremy Yakle, Mary Snyder, Michael Roth, Miguel Barboza Jr., Monique Milner, Oluwasegun Adefope, Rebecca Palmer, Sunnita Blount, Jasmine Rowan, and Marcus Dickerson.

Also, Street Law was such a success that Atlanta Public Schools featured the program on its website. For more information on Street Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, contact the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning at or

AJMLS Announces Eleven Upcoming Tenure Appointments

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has granted tenure to eleven faculty members, effective August 1, 2014. Eight of the eleven appointments are AJMLS professors and three are professors at Savannah Law School (SLS), a branch of AJMLS.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at AJMLS

Associate Professor K. Lee Adams joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches civil procedure and constitutional law. Professor Adams earned her B.A. from Georgia State University and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kari Mercer Dalton joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches legal research, writing & analysis I & II; pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Dalton earned her B.A. from Boston College and earned her J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law.

Associate Professor Andrea Doneff joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches ADR & writing, mediation, civil procedure, legal writing, research and advocacy. Professor Doneff earned her B.A. from Emory University, her M.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Patrice Fulcher joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2007 and teaches criminal law; legal research, writing & analysis I, II & III; pretrial practice & procedure; trial advocacy and criminal procedure. Professor Fulcher earned her B.A. from Howard University and J.D. from the Emory University School of Law.

Associate Professor Jace C. Gatewood joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches business organizations and real property. Professor Gatewood earned his A.B. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Associate Professor Elizabeth M. Jaffe joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006 and teaches client interviewing & counseling, depositions, legal research, writing & analysis I & II, pretrial practice & procedure. Professor Jaffe earned her B.A. from Emory University and her J.D. from the Washington University School of Law.

Associate Professor Neva Browning Jeffries joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2008 and teaches Legal Drafting; Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II; Pretrial Practice & Procedure; Business Organizations. Professor Jeffries earned her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Associate Professor Kelly Casey Mullally joined the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2009 and teaches Intellectual Property; Patent Law; Torts. Professor Mullally earned her B.S. from the Georgia Institute of Technology and her J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law.

Upcoming Tenured Professors at SLS

Professor Elizabeth Megale joined the faculty at the Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches advanced appellate advocacy, pretrial advocacy and transactional drafting, art of advocacy. Professor Megale earned her B.A. and J.D. from Mercer University.

Professor Marc Roark joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2012 and teaches property, law & literature and sales & secured transactions. Professor Roark earned his B.A. from Louisiana State University, his LL.M. from the Duke University School of Law and his J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans.

Professor Judd Sneirson joined the faculty at Savannah Law School in 2013 and teaches contracts, intellectual property and business organizations. Professor Sneirson earned his B.A. from Williams College and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Current Tenured Faculty

●Dean & Professor Richardson Lynn
●Associate Dean for Scholarship & Professor Jeffrey Van Detta
●Associate Professor Joanna Apolinsky
●Professor Anthony Baker
●Associate Professor Scott Boone
●Associate Professor Kathleen Burch
●Professor Robert D’Agostino
●Associate Professor Helen de Haven
●Associate Professor Liza Karsai
●Professor Michael Lynch
●Associate Professor Lance McMillian
●Associate Professor Jonathan Rapping
●Professor Caprice Roberts, SLS
●Associate Professor Lisa Taylor
●Associate Professor Lisa Tripp

Granting an appointment of tenure is a firm commitment that AJMLS makes to talented faculty. The school does this to recognize professors who have consistently contributed to its mission by demonstrating excellence throughout their careers at AJMLS.

The conferring of tenure upon these faculty members represents a significant milestone in their academic careers. Please join us in congratulating each of these amazing professors for their ongoing dedication to enriching the lives of the AJMLS and SLS student body.

You may follow the hashtags #AJMLS and #ProfDev, on Twitter, to congratulate these professors or join the conversation.

AJMLS Professor Chosen for Radio Interview with Legal Talk Network

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, Jonathan Rapping was recently interviewed on Legal Talk Network’s radio program, Lawyer2Lawyer, to discuss his organization Gideon’s Promise. On this episode of Lawyer2Lawyer, hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams interviewed Professor Rapping, founder of the Atlanta-based public defender training program Gideon’s Promise, and Dawn Porter, director and producer of the documentary Gideon’s Army. Together they discuss the daily rigors faced by public defenders in the south, their personal beliefs about unequal access to justice, and their ideas about how to better deliver on the promise of Gideon. The radio interview can be found on Legal Talk Network. More information on Professor Rapping can be found on his faculty profile.

Law Review Article by AJMLS Professor Cited in Forbes Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Beckett Cantley was cited in a recent article by Forbes Magazine discussing life insurance and 831(b) captive insurance companies. His extensive experience on the issue, in addition to his recent appearance as a panelist at the Spring Meeting of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association made Professor Cantley an excellent source of information on the subject.

The excerpt reads:

The panel featured Prof. Beckett Cantley of John Marshal Law School in Atlanta, who discussed the fact that the IRS is taking a hard look at 831(b) captives that have purchased life insurance, and seem to be following their exact same avenues of attack that finally took down abusive VEBAs, 412(i), 419A(f)(6), and other abusive plans that offered pre-tax life insurance. Namely, the IRS is now conducting various promoter audits to obtain the client lists of the insurance managers whose 831(b) captives are involved with life insurance, as a possible predicate to making the purchase of life insurance within a captive a “listed transaction”, i.e., a presumed tax shelter that carries onerous reporting requirements and possibly very significant penalties.

Professor Cantley also spoke at some length about the technical issues about why the IRS would be absolutely right in taking down 831(b) companies with significant amounts of life insurance, but instead of me paraphrasing him, it is probably better to just read his excellent article on the subject: Cantley, Beckett G., Repeat as Necessary: Historical IRS Policy Weapons to Combat Conduit Captive Insurance Company Deductible Purchases of Life Insurance (February 2013). U. C. Davis Business Law Journal, Vol. 13, 2013. Available at SSRN:

And Professor Cantley is nothing like the only voice in the wilderness on this issue: Various other prominent captive tax attorneys have indicated that having an 831(b) captive be structured to invest significant assets in a life insurance policy is probably a pretty bad idea, and off-the-record statements from IRS and Treasury officials (not to mention the ongoing promoter audits) show that this is an area of intense interest, if not concern.

Prior to teaching at John Marshall, Professor Cantley served as a law professor at both St.Thomas University School of Law (Miami, FL) and in the International Tax and Financial Services Program (LL.M.) at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA).  He currently also teaches International Taxation at Northeastern University.  In addition to the courses he currently teaches at AJMLS and NEU, he has previously taught several other JD and LL.M. level courses, including: Tax I; Tax II; Partnership Taxation; and Business Entities.  Prior to entering academia, Professor Cantley’s private practice included serving as an Associate Attorney with Oliver Maner & Gray LLP in Savannah, GA.

To read the full article, visit the Forbes Magazine website. Professor Cantley’s full biography including published articles and media appearances can be found here.

AJMLS Announces Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Chief Judge Herbert E. Phipps as the keynote speaker at the school’s upcoming commencement. The commencement exercises will be held on May 17, 2014 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

About Chief Judge Herbert E. Phipps

Judge Phipps is known for his intense commitment to justice and a keen understanding of ethics. It is this commitment to equality and service to others that has led to his illustrious career in public service.

Courtroom Accomplishments

Chief Judge Herbert Phipps has earned a long list of professional accomplishments. Most recent was his 2013 election as the 27th Presiding Chief Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Even before the election, Judge Phipps was no stranger to the Georgia Court of Appeals; as he got his start with the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1999 when Governor Roy Barnes appointed him as judge to the Court of Appeals. Prior to that appointment he’d served as judge with the Dougherty County Superior Court, the Dougherty Circuit Juvenile Court and also as part-time Magistrate and Associate Judge of the Dougherty County State Court.

Additional Recognition and Achievements

In addition to his achievements in the courtroom, Judge Phipps has also made historic strides outside of court. In March 2014 Judge Phipps was honored by the Georgia Legal History Foundation, who awarded him with the Nestor Award in recognition of his contribution to Georgia’s legal history.  He became the first African American judge to have his portrait unveiled and displayed on the 2nd floor of the Dougherty County Justice Center in 2012.

In 2007, Judge Phipps earned the distinction of being inducted into the Society of Benchers of Case Western Reserve School of Law. In 2006 The Georgia Bar Association recognized his dedication to the community by awarding him with the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.

Judge Phipps has served on the boards of numerous organizations and boards in the past, including:

●        Board of Directors of SB&T Bank of Albany and Americus (Chairman)
●        The Albany Association for Retarded Citizens (President)
●        The Faith Fund Foundation (President)
●        The Criterion Club (President)
●        Lawyers Club of Atlanta (President)

Judge Phipps is a strong proponent of family. He believes that much of his success would not have been possible without the support of his wife Connie, as well as their children Herbert and India, son-in-law Will J. Epps and granddaughter Zoë Olivia Epps.

About the 2014 AJMLS Commencement

The commencement ceremony is scheduled to begin on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm. Tickets are not required for entry.  For more information regarding parking or other venue related topics, please visit

On behalf of AJMLS, we’d like to congratulate you on your momentous achievement. We’d also like to extend our best wishes to all of our 2014 graduates as you go on to change the world!

To join the AJMLS commencement conversation on Twitter just follow the hashtags #AJMLS and #LawGrad.

AJMLS Professor Featured Panelist in American Constitution Society SCOTUS Review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Kathleen Burch is a featured panelist in the upcoming SCOTUS review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby presented by the Georgia Lawyer Chapter, Georgia State University College of Law, Emory University School of Law and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Student Chapters of the American Constitution Society (ACS). The event, SCOTUS Review of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby: Does the Constitution Protect Corporate Religious Freedom? will be held on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at One Atlantic Center.

Please join the ACS Georgia Lawyer Chapter for a panel discussion on the Supreme Court’s consideration of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, and Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, which address whether corporations may deny coverage to their employees for items such as contraceptives drugs to which they would otherwise be entitled under the Affordable Care Act based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners under both the First Amendment’s free exercise clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Topics to be discussed include religious freedom and discrimination, corporate personhood and federal health policy. For questions on the day of the event, please contact Douglas Park at 404-862-0582. To attend for free with no CLE credit, RSVP here. To purchase 1.0 hours of CLE credit for $5, RSVP here. A full list of panelists is listed below.

  • Kathleen Burch, Associate Professor of Law, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
  • William P. Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law, former Deputy White House Counsel; Member, ACS Board of Directors
  • Frank J. Mulcahy, Executive Director, Georgia Catholic Conference
  • Anne Tucker, Assistant Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law



Professor Fulcher Gives Expert Opinion to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Patrice Fulcher was asked by Representative Elijah E. Cummings’ office, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to comment on the contempt proceedings against Lois Lerner. Cummings released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014.

In Professor Fulcher’s comment, she said:

released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at:
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at:
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at:
released opinions from 25 legal experts across the country and the political spectrum concluding that Committee Chairman Darrell Issa compromised any House contempt action against former IRS official Lois Lerner when he rushed to adjourn the Committee’s hearing on March 5, 2014. – See more at:

“American citizens expect, and the Constitution demands, that U.S. Congressional Committees adhere to procedural constraints when conducting hearings. Yet the proper required measures designed to provide due process of law were not followed during the May 22nd House Oversight Committee Hearing concerning Ms. Lerner. In Quinn v. United States, the Supreme Court clearly outlined practical safeguards to be followed to lay the foundation for contempt of Congress proceedings once a witness invokes the Fifth Amendment. 349 U.S. 155 (1955). To establish criminal intent, the committee has to demand the witness answer and upon refusal, expressly overrule her claim of privilege. This procedure assures that an accused is not forced to ‘guess whether or not the committee has accepted [her] objection’, but is provided with a choice between compliance and prosecution. Id. It is undeniable that the record shows that the committee did not expressly overrule Ms. Lerner’s claim of privilege, but rather once Ms. Lerner invoked her 5th Amendment right, the Chairman subsequently excused her. The Chairman did not order her to answer or present her with the clear option to respond or suffer contempt charges. Therefore, launching a contempt prosecution against Ms. Lerner appears futile and superfluous due to the Committee’s disregard for long standing traditions of procedure.”

For the full story or to read the opinions of other legal experts, click here.

Jonathan Rapping Earns National Recognition with Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 Award

Nearly 80 percent of the 12 million people who move annually through America’s criminal justice system cannot afford a lawyer. As a result, many innocent defendants plead guilty simply because they cannot afford to take their case to trial, and the public defender system is so overwhelmed by crushing volume, that adequate and meaningful defense fails them as well. For Jonathan Rapping, the injustice in the U.S. justice system is simply unacceptable, and now everyone is taking note of his exploding and impactful non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise.

Gideon’s Promise, based in Atlanta, yet armed with a national reputation, works tirelessly to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. And work zealously to ensure that those accused of crimes, who are most vulnerable in our society, have the same access to criminal justice as everyone else.

“For the past seven years, we at Gideon’s Promise have worked tirelessly to ensure ‘equal justice for all’ is not just an empty promise, but a reality that is consistent with our Constitution and its founding ideals,” says Rapping. “Being honored with the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 truly validates that our work to change the status quo is vital, and that our public defenders are making justice a reality every day.”

It is because of this ground-breaking work that Rapping was recently honored as one of the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100, an honor that he shares with Melinda Gates, Rick Warren, former Vice President Al Gore and Jonathan Trent among others. A complete list of winners can be found at

“The Purpose 100 highlights and celebrates the work of those shifting the paradigm on what is possible for all of us through work that reignites purpose,” says Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and innovator/creator of The Purpose Economy. “By founding Gideon’s Promise and training more than 250 public defenders over the past seven years, Jon more than exemplifies that calling. He is a pioneer working to bring equal justice back to our judicial system. I look forward to watching Jon and Gideon’s Promise continue strengthening the resources available to public defenders.”

Last year, Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Rapping is a nationally renowned speaker and author – advocating for better standards in the criminal justice system by delivering powerful and varying keynotes at conferences and institutions across the country. His national outreach includes audiences at law schools, organizations committed to justice, bar associations and public defender offices and systems.

AJMLS Hosts Legal Education in the 21st Century Conference in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School in partnership with Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi, are hosting the Legal Education in the Twenty-first Century: an International Conference of Legal Educators on May 4-7, 2014 in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey.  With the globalization of the economic markets and outsourcing of legal work, the discussion of the future of legal education has not been confined to the United States, but has been a topic of discussion throughout law schools and the legal profession around the world.   Legal Education in the Twenty-first Century will bring together law faculty from around the globe to explore the best pedagogies and curricula for preparing lawyers to practice in both global and domestic legal markets.

Conference panels include: The State of Legal Education Across the Globe, The Future of the Practice of Law, The Role of the Judiciary in Admission to the Bar and Attorney Discipline, Bar Exams and Admission to Practice Standards, The Faculty: Tenure and Academic Freedom, Legal Education in the Digital Age, The Classroom as Apprenticeship, Reading Cases Globally, Integrating Doctrine and Writing, Experiential Learning, and Training the Global Lawyer.

Confirmed speakers include:  Justice Carol Hunstein, Georgia Supreme Court; Justice Christine Durham, Utah Supreme Court; Dean Emeritus James P. White; Sally Lockwood, Director, Georgia Office of Bar Admissions; James Moliterno, Jane Ching, Lucy Jewel, Denis Binder, Kathleen Burch, Jeffrey Van Detta, Bruce Luna, Jessica Rubin, Joan Blum, Elizabeth Megale, Rebecca Cummings, and Patrick Hugg.

For more information or to register for the conference, please contact Professor Kathleen Burch via e-mail at or via phone at (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 105.


AJMLS Moot Court Team Advances to Octo-finals in Elon Law National Competition

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Moot Court Team recently advanced to the octo-finals in the Elon Law National Moot Court Competition. Sixteen schools participated in the competition including: Charleston, Florida Coastal, George Mason, Howard University, New York Law School, Nova Southeastern, Regent University, South Texas, Southwestern, Texas Tech, UNC, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, Wayne State, and William and Mary.

The John Marshall student competitors were Nickolas Kitchens, Ellakisha O’Kelley, and Rodrigo Silva – all part-time students.  Their coach was Michael Bauer, and student coaches Stephanie Garner and Koji Noguchi. Professors Burch, D’Agostino, Dalton, Harrison, Lynch, McMillian, Rapping, and Taylor were also an integral part of the team’s success.

Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in our Moot Court Team advancing in the Elon Law National Moot Court Competition.


Governor Nathan Deal Names AJMLS Alumna Solicitor General of Muscogee County

Governor Nathan Deal recently named Suzanne Goddard, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, the new Solicitor General of Muscogee County. The vacancy was created by the appointment of the Hon. Benjamin Richardson as State Court judge of Muscogee County. Goddard’s appointment is effective upon swearing-in.  Goddard has worked in the Office of the Solicitor-General since 1997 — the same year she earned her law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia. Congratulations on behalf of the entire John Marshall community.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Announces New Dean

The Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the Savannah Law School are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Malcolm L. Morris as Dean/CEO and Professor of Law, effective July 1, 2014.

Professor Morris has enjoyed a distinguished career including two terms as the Associate Dean and one as Interim Dean at Northern Illinois University College of Law. During his tenure there he was elected Secretary of the Faculty Senate and was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and the University Council, as well as the University Personnel Advisor. Professor Morris currently is Director, Graduate Estate Planning Programs, and Associate Director of Graduate Tax Law Programs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Additionally, he has been active as an ABA accreditation site visitor (he was on the team that visited us in 1997), Board member and Treasurer of CLEO, Inc., LSAC trustee, and member of various AALS and ABA committees. During his time in Illinois he has chaired and participated on numerous Illinois State Bar Association committees and received a number of awards for those efforts including election as a Laureate in its Academy of Illinois Lawyers. He also has an extensive scholarship record that includes works in both law reviews and practitioner-oriented publications. Professor Morris is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S.), SUNY Buffalo (J.D.), and Northwestern University (LL.M.). Malcolm brings us enthusiasm, creativity, imagination, and a wealth of experience in legal education at a time when these qualities are much in need.

While his duties officially begin July 1, 2014, he will be on campus from time to time before then to get more acquainted with the law school.

Please join in welcoming Professor Malcolm L. Morris to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the Savannah Law School. We will be planning several on-campus receptions in the upcoming months in Atlanta and Savannah for Malcolm to get to better know and exchange ideas with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the broader legal community.

AJMLS Moot Court Team Wins Georgia Intrastate

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Moot Team scores a historic win at the 2014 Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Competition. As their first victory at the competition, the win represents a milestone for the law school.

Every year all five law schools in the state of Georgia compete against each other at the Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Competition, where competitors are scored on their brief writing and oral advocacy skills. Until this year, the University of Georgia has enjoyed a comfortable eight-year winning streak at the competition.

This would all change in 2014 as the winning team, consisting of students Kimberly Stahl (Cartersville, GA), Daniel Ybanez (Port Orange, FL), Mathis Wilkens and Derek Gross, scored an upset. The AJMLS moot team defeated teams from the University of Georgia, Mercer University, Georgia State University and Emory University during the two-day event held at Emory University from March 21, 2014 to March 22, 2014.

Advancing to the final round of the competition were the moot teams from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and The University of Georgia. Kimberly Stahl and Mathis Wilkens represented the AJMLS Moot Team in the finals. Although this isn’t the first year that the AJMLS Moot Team has placed in a moot court competition, this year has marked several significant changes for Moot Court at John Marshall.

Professor Malempati who took over as the Director of Advocacy Programs in August of 2013 had this to say about the improvements that led to the school’s win, “Oral advocacy and legal writing are a focus of our curriculum at John Marshall. The faculty are committed to the practical training of our students.”

She goes on to say, “We have also added two incredibly dedicated alumni coaches: Michael Bauer and Thomas Lyman. We have always known that our students are incredibly talented. I am just so pleased to see that they are being recognized for all of their hard work.

Last, but certainly not least, we have had tremendous support this year from the faculty. Professors Baker, Boone, D’Agostino, De Haven, Doneff, Mears, and Van Detta tirelessly benched our competitors so that they were thoroughly prepared to walk away with the winning prize.”

Likewise, LoriBeth Westbrook, the current Chair of Moot Court also had this to add regarding the progression of the school’s moot court team, “Although we did not expect the changes we have made to the program to have had such a dramatic impact so soon, our success at Georgia Intrastate and Stetson demonstrates that those changes are having a positive impact. And I am confident that there will be even more success to share in the future.”


Professor D’Agostino Interviewed Regarding Bankruptcy Laws

In a recent article from CardHub, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Robert D’Agostino and other legal experts answered common questions individuals have regarding bankruptcy. CardHub offers an easily-accessible search engine and relevant articles for individuals to use to find a credit card that suits their personal and financial needs. However, due to the increase of bankruptcy filings and subsequent increase in societal reliance on credit cards, CardHub sought out legal experts to answer general questions about bankruptcy in an effort to educate its audience.

Professor D’Agostino was asked, “What part of the bankruptcy process do you think people understand least?” He replied, “The issue of what is and what is not dischargeable . This particularly true of tax liabilities and the IRS’s ability to impose a 100% penalty on bankrupt small business owners when the business has not paid its required taxes. BAPCA has clarified and broadened the law applicable to what assets of an individual do not become part of the bankruptcy estate. The ‘mini’ chapter 11 has made that process more accessible and less expensive for small business.

To view the entire article and read what other experts said about bankruptcy, click here.


The National Jurist Names AJMLS Among the Best Law Schools for Practical Training

In the March 2014 issue of The National Jurist, the magazine names the law schools with the most comprehensive experiential learning offerings. By analyzing the information each school provided to the American Bar Association in December, the magazine was able to assign a letter grade to each law school. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning earned a “B” for their efforts to provide students with a quality and in-depth variety of pro bono and externship opportunities. Congratulations to Director Renata Turner and Assistant Director Bridgett Ortega for all their hard work and dedication to improving the student experience at the law school. To read the full article, click here.

AJMLS Student Placed Third in ABA Business Law Section Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest

Please join the law school in congratulating AJMLS student and Law Journal member Sheronn Harris for being awarded third place in the ABA Business Law Section’s 2013-2014 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest, for her comment, “What is Considered a Reasonable Investigation Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?”  Papers in this national competition were judged on research and analysis, choice of topic, writing style, originality, and contribution to the literature available on the topic.

Harris will receive a cash award and an all-expenses paid trip to by the Section to attend the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting and receive the award. Her paper will also be considered by the section for possible publication in a future edition of The Business Lawyer. Details about the competition can be found here.


Register Now for the Next LL.M. in Employment Law Virtual Open House, March 18

As the online Employment Law Program prepares for its next cohort, LL.M. Director, Lisa Kaplan invites prospective students to join her for a virtual open house. During the open house,  students will learn more about the LL.M. in Employment Law Program and also have the opportunity to have any questions answered live during the event. The event will be held on March 18, 2014 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. To register for the LL.M. in Employment Law Virtual Open House, click here. For additional information, please contact Lisa Kaplan at or call (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 131.

AJMLS Students Awarded Best Draft at Regional Transactional LawMeet

On Friday, a team of two students – Bentley Adams and Irena Chernova – competed at the Regional Transactional LawMeet.  Prior to Friday’s in-person competition, all teams were assigned a side to represent in a transaction – buyer or seller.  Each team then completed two drafting assignments consisting of (1) drafting an indemnification agreement and (2) marking up a draft indemnification agreement prepared by the other side in the transaction.  The teams then competed on Friday at various regional competitions across the country.

The Regional meet this year was hosted by the University of Georgia and AJMLS participated with teams from 11 other schools – University of Georgia, Georgia State, Georgetown, Emory, Baylor, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee, Florida International, Nova Southeastern, Washington & Lee, and Northern Kentucky.

The AJMLS team did a wonderful job.  The team was awarded BEST DRAFT on the seller’s side and came in third place for the negotiation piece on the seller’s side. Special thanks goes to Ben Stidham and Amy Zapatka, the AJMLS alumnae who competed in last year’s National LawMeet.  They generously donated their time and expertise to consult with the students on this year’s problem and Ben traveled to Athens with the group on Friday.  The law school is very fortunate to have such dedicated alumnae who continue to support the school and the students. Congratulations again Bentley and Irena!

For the full press release from LawMeets, click here.

AJMLS Professor Moderates Panel Discussion at Psychology and Lawyering Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor Suparna Malempati recently moderated a panel titled The Psychology of Client Relations at a conference held at the University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law.  The conference, Psychology and Lawyering: Coalescing the Field,  brought together leading academics and practitioners from both law and psychology to discuss how insights drawn from multiple fields of  psychology can improve specific lawyering practices.  The conference was an effort to coalesce academics and practitioners from various fields who together are increasingly recognizing the broad relevance of psychology to lawyering.

Mock Trial Team Places Third in Southern Illinois University Invitational Mock Trial Competition

The Mock Trial Team at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently participated in the Southern Illinois University Invitational Mock Trial Competition on February 7-8, 2014. The law school placed third overall and received awards for Best Examination (Daniel Ybanez) and Best Advocate (Emily Everest).  The team worked with Associate Professor and Director of Advocacy Programs Suparna Malempati to prepare for the competition. Team members included: Catherine DeRoth, Emily Everest, Jason Mitchell, Marsha Terry, Mathis Wilkens, and Daniel Ybanez.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan Addresses AJMLS Advanced Evidence Class

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan recently addressed the law school’s Advanced Evidence Class as a result of an invitation from Associate Professor Michael Mears.  He discussed the operation of the GBI and gave the class a detailed description of the work the GBI Crime Laboratory does for law enforcement throughout the state.  He then made himself available to the students for an extended question and answer session.  The students were treated to an up close and personal look at the operation of the GBI as part of their continuing study of scientific evidence in criminal cases. His contribution to the student’s study of scientific evidence was invaluable and the entire class has been invited by Director Keenan to tour the GBI Crime Laboratory next month.

In 2011 Governor Nathan Deal re-appointed Vernon Keenan as Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. As GBI Director, Vernon Keenan is the leader of a state criminal Investigative agency with over 820 positions including forensic scientists and special agents.  The GBI is comprised of three divisions:  the State Crime Laboratory, the Georgia Crime Information Center, and the Investigative Division.

Professor Rapping Receives the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping was recently awarded the INSPIRE Award from Cardozo School of Law in New York City. The award was given to Professor Rapping, President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, because of his work with an organization that inspires, mobilizes and trains legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. The awards ceremony and reception is a part of the law school’s Inspire: Awards and Public Service Networking Event which is held at the end of the school’s Public Service Week. For more information on Cardozo School of Law’s awards ceremony, click here. Congratulations to Professor Rapping for being recognized for the work his organization does in the legal community.

AJLMS Alumni Sworn into U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, December 2, 2013, 7 AJMLS alumni and one professor were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court.  The alumni that were sworn in include:  Alex Brown, Christopher Grubbs, Lisa Skinner, Alicia Mullice, Cameil Reddick, Lisa Guerra, Mark Zukowski, and Professor Renata Turner.

On December 1, 2013 an evening reception was held for the participants and their families at the esteemed Willard Hotel.

The trip to Washington D.C. to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court is an annual event that Dean Lynn takes with up to 12 alumni.  If you would like more information on how to be a part of this amazing experience, please email Ginger Arnold at





AJMLS Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department to Present at Sturm College of Law in Denver

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department have been selected to present at the upcoming Externships 7: Scaling New Heights – Field Placements and the Reform of Legal Education Conference at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver on March 2, 2014.

Director and Professor, Renata Turner and Assistant Director, Bridgett Ortega will present a workshop entitled “Thinking and Working Inside and Outside the Box: Building Community Connections through the Hybrid Externship Clinic.” The Externship 7 Planning Committee received an extraordinary range of excellent proposals, and were very excited about Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s contribution.

For more information on our award-winning department, click here.

AJMLS Alumna to Head Law Office in Lodz, Poland

The Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, founded by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School adjunct professor Joseph Rosen, recently opened an office in Lodz, Poland. The branch will be managed by recent John Marshall alumna and lawyer, Alina Sokol. Sokol graduated from the law school in May 2013 with an LL.M. in American Legal Studies. In her role, Sokol and the office will assist Polish citizens and businesses with issues surrounding U.S. immigration. Congratulations to Sokol on this accomplishment and to Professor Rosen on expanding his practice.

For more information on the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, click here. A link to the Polish office can be found here.



AJMLS Staff Member Elected President of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center

On December 12, 2013, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning, Bridgett Ortega, was elected President of the Board of Directors for the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in Washington, D.C. NJDC, recipient of the coveted MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions, is the only organization in the United States devoted solely to improving access to counsel and the quality of representation for children in the justice system. The Center works with individual front-line juvenile defenders and offices, and a national network of regional defender centers, providing them with the tools, support, and skills needed to improve juvenile defense policy and practice. Ms. Ortega’s experience and dedication to juvenile justice makes her uniquely qualified and ready to serve as NJDC’s new president.  Also, on December 20, 2013 Ortega will also receive the NAACP “Freedom Fighter” award for her work in social and juvenile justice. On behalf of the law school, congratulations for your outstanding accomplishments, hard work and dedication the practice of law and the juvenile justice system.

AJMLS to Feature Prominently at Major Upcoming Legal Seminar

Distinguished Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumni, faculty and students will feature prominently in Carlson on Evidence, an Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia sponsored seminar to be held December 19, 2013 at Georgia State Bar Headquarters, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The seminar will focus on a practical application of Georgia’s new evidence code.

“We have relied heavily on John Marshall graduates in the past and have been impressed with their dedication to our program,” said Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law, Ron Carlson, co-chair of the program.

Carlson on Evidence will feature John Marshall alumni the Honorable James G. Bodiford of Cobb County Superior Court and Todd H. Ashley, Deputy Director of Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia. In addition, John Marshall adjunct professors Rebecca Crumrine, John Melvin and Mike Carlson will also present. Rachel Morelli, John Marshall 3L, has assisted in the preparation of the program materials and coordinating the various experts who are involved in the seminar.

“I appreciate very much the opportunity to be associated with this program and the support for John Marshall that both Ron and Mike Carlson are willing to provide,” says Morelli.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kevin Cieply adds, “This looks to be a tremendous program that will serve to educate members of the Georgia Bar well.”

The Carlson on Evidence seminar will also serve as the “roll-out” for the Second Edition of Carlson on Evidence, a work that is focused on comparing the federal evidence rules to Georgia’s evidence rule. Morelli assisted in researching and editing various portions of the new edition. For more information on the seminar, click here.

Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 13, 2013

The Alumni Office held a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2013 bar exam passers and other AJMLS alumni on November 13, 2013. The Alumni were sworn into the Court of Appeals, Supreme Court of Georgia, and Fulton County Superior Court and were honored to be sworn in by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court, Judge G. Alan Blackburn of the Court of Appeals, and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There was a reception for friends and family held after the ceremony.  Here are the pictures from the event that can be downloaded for personal use. If you have any questions about the event, please contact the Alumni Office.

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AJMLS Student Wins First Place at Keenan’s Kids Foundation 12th Annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce second-year law student Ella O’Kelley recently won first place at the Keenan’s Kids Foundation’s12th annual Law Student Closing Argument Competition.The competition was established in 1997 to show students the importance of children’s rights and to encourage them into this most needed area of the law. The event also stands as an opportunity for students to gain experience in a courtroom in front of a jury.

“Each and every one of the students who competed in this event did an outstanding job,” said Foundation founder Don C. Keenan. “Our final scores were very close and I am so impressed with the dedication and preparation the students took before giving their arguments. We saw some excellent feedback from the judges and I am confident this has made a lasting impression with all the participants.” The Keenan Law Firm specializes in catastrophic child injury and death cases.  The Keenan’s Kids Foundation, started by the firm in 1993 to raise awareness on child safety, sponsors the competition to heighten the awareness of damage consideration to injured and maimed children.

A full list this year’s winners are:

– First place: Ella O’Kelley; Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (2L)

Second Place: Mary Hashemi; Savannah Law School (2L)

– Third Place: Ramika Gourdine; Georgia State University School of Law (3L)

– Fourth Place: Utrophia Robinson; University of Georgia Law School (3L)

The law school is appreciative of the continuous hard work our students dedicate to the study of law and improving the community. At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, we are passionate about providing a high-quality legal education to students from all backgrounds. We offer a regular Juris Doctor Program, an Honors J.D. in Criminal Justice Program and an accelerated J.D. Program which allows students to complete law school in 2 and one-half years. For the full press release provided by The Keenan Kids Foundation, click here. To contact an admissions professional, call 404-872-3593 ##Ext. 261261 or email

AJMLS Students Compete in ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students Tyler Carey, Jeff Sayer, Amon Kirk, and Matt Messerli  recently represented the law school in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition hosted by Emory University.  The competition consisted of 20 teams from across the southeast, each team made up of two students. The teams competed in two rounds on Saturday, negotiating two different contracts.  Despite a hard fought battle, neither of the two teams advanced to the finals on Sunday.  However, each team represented AJMLS well.

Three of the four team members are 1Ls and the fourth is a 2L evening student.  John Marshall is very proud of these students for showing such initiative by participating in a competition this early in their law school careers. The team worked hard preparing for the competition and learned a great deal in the process.  The law school hopes they will want to compete again next year and put all the valuable insight they gained this year to work.

AJMLS would also like to thank our dedicated alumni coaches – Thomas (Torrey) Rainey (AJMLS 2012) and Amy Zapatka (AJMLS 2013) – who took the helm for this competition.  Having alumni who have competed in these competitions and who are not only willing to help, but are enthusiastic about coming back to AJMLS to share their wisdom and experience with the next generation of competitors is invaluable for the school and for the students.

AJMLS Student to Speak at TedxEmory Fall Speaker Series

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School student Hussainatu Blake and her twin sister Hassanatu Blake have been chosen to be the TedxEmory Fall 2013 speakers. Winners of the White House Champions of Change Award, the Blake sisters are co-founders of Focal Point Global, a non-profit whose mission is to empower underserved youth in Namibia and Cameroon using education and technology to address social issues. Their TED Talk will take place at Emory University on Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 5 p.m.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting “ideas worth spreading.”  TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani,Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Their TEDx series offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world. Congratulations to Hussainatu and her sister on their accomplishments.

AJMLS Professor’s Non-Profit Organization Receives $1 Million Grant from Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a total of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations across the country that provide legal defense services for the poor.  The non-profit organization of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jon Rapping was one of the organizations chosen to receive a grant.

Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that partners with public defender offices to build a community of attorneys committed to indigent defense reform,was awarded $1 million.  The funds will provide 25 new attorneys, including criminal defense lawyers working on tribal lands; establish training and leadership development for public defender trainers and supervisors and a semi-annual leadership summit for chief defenders; and create an advisory council to test measures and indicators showing the outcomes of providing effective counsel for all individuals.

These grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to improve indigent defense, which is often underfunded and understaffed, and to support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development and research to enhance the effectiveness of adult, juvenile and tribal indigent defense practices.

Professor Rapping feels that the grant is another indicator of the type of education students can receive by enrolling in the law school’s J.D. Honors Program in Criminal Justice. He said, “through the Honors Program in Criminal Justice, our students are getting the kind of preparation for careers in criminal justice that the Department of Justice recognizes is critical.  Three of our Honors Program faculty (Professors Rapping, Fulcher, and Saviello) are also core members of this organization that the Department of Justice is investing in as a real solution to the criminal justice crisis we face.”

For more information on the other organizations chosen to receive grants, click here.


Professor Rapping Gives Keynote Address at University of Iowa Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jon Rapping was recently the keynote speaker at the University of Iowa Law School’s “Fifty Years of Gideon” symposium. Professor Rapping was chosen based to his work with Gideon’s Promise, his nonprofit organization that works to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. Gideon’s Promise was later featured in an HBO documentary titled Gideon’s Army which aired July 1, 2013. The symposium commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision granting all indigent defendants the right to counsel, Gideon v. Wainwright. Following Professor Rapping’s keynote address, a renowned group of panelists discussed the history of Gideon, the current state of indigent defense, and future developments for the right to counsel. For more on Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise, click here. To learn more about the University of Iowa Law School symposium, click here.


AJMLS Moot Court Team Finishes Third in Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Moot Court/Mock Trial team advanced into the semi-final round of the Stetson National Pre-Trial Competition and finished third behind LSU and Texas Tech, and ahead of Baylor. This competition involved a pre-trial civil issue and requires both appellate and trial advocacy skills.  It includes written briefs, oral arguments, direct & cross examinations of witnesses, and a closing argument. AJMLS also received the award for Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law.  This is the second year in a row that AJMLS has won a best brief award at this competition.  That is certainly a compliment to our writing professors.

The following students are on the team: LoriBeth Westbrook (4L part-time); Jason McClendon (4L part-time); Michelle Sandler (3L); and Nickolas Kitchens (2L).   They have been coached by our alumnus, Thomas Lyman, who also dedicated many hours to their preparation. The schools entered in the competition were Baylor, Chapman, Charleston, Chicago-Kent, Fordham, Golden Gate, LSU, Mississippi College, Northern Kentucky, Pace, Regent, Texas Tech, UDC, UMKC, and William & Mary.

The pairings of teams for the first two rounds was random.  Our first round on Friday morning was against Northern Kentucky and we were assigned to be plaintiffs.  The second round on Friday afternoon was against Regent.  Our defense team was up.  We were unfortunately assigned to a small seminar room, instead of a courtroom, and so, the technical aspects of presentation were challenging.  The third round pairing of teams was power matched, meaning the pairings were based upon ranking of the teams. We were paired against Chicago-Kent and our defense team was up again. In the fourth round we competed against LSU.

These students and their coaches have worked tirelessly for the past several weeks and performed outstandingly at the competition.  Congratulations on behalf of the law school.


Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 13, 2013 for July 2013 Bar Exam Passers

The Alumni Office will hold a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2013 bar exam passers and any other AJMLS alumni who would like to be sworn into the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of Georgia.  We will be honored by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There will also be a representative from the Court of Appeals.

The ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. on November 13, 2013 at the G. Alan Blackburn Conference Center.  After the ceremony there will be a reception with light hors d’oeuvres.  Please plan to arrive at 4:00 p.m. to arrange the necessary paperwork.

In order to be sworn in to any or all of the courts, you must have ALL checks and paperwork into the Alumni Office no later than Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

Superior Court – For admission to the Superior Court, the Alumni Office will need the Original Certificate you receive from Bar Admissions.

Georgia Supreme Court – For the attorney admission form for the Supreme Court, please go to: and complete the application.  Very important – AJMLS will provide the sponsoring attorneys so please leave that portion blank.  The cost to be sworn into the GA Supreme Court is $30 and must be paid through the website.  Please attach a copy of your PayPal receipt with your application.

Court of Appeals – For the attorney admission form for the Court of Appeals, please go to:  The cost to be sworn into the Court of Appeals is $30 and checks are to be made payable to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals.  Please send in your check and application to the Alumni Office.

Parking will be available in the AJMLS parking deck and other local decks.

For more information, please contact the Alumni Office at (404)872-3593 ##Ext. 287.

Professor Rapping Named the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School

Professor Jon Rapping was recently selected as the 2013 Public Interest Scholar in Residence at Touro Law School. Through the Distinguished Public Interest Lawyer in Residence Program, Touro Law Center recognizes attorneys who have made significant contributions to society by representation of individuals or groups historically denied access to justice. Honorees visit the Law Center to meet with students, guest teach classes and deliver a public lecture. The program attracts distinguished visitors who are active in the field of public interest who inspire and teach members of the Touro Law community. On behalf of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, congratulations Professor Rapping on another outstanding accomplishment. For the full story, click here.

AJMLS Founds New Student Organization – Veteran Law Students Association

Students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently founded the Veteran Law Students Association to support all veterans regardless of their branch of service, time of service, or any other distinguishing characteristic. VLSA was also created to promote continued service by the members of its organization.

Membership is neither based on past military service nor lack thereof.  Students  pursuing a Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M) or any other degree programs authorized by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School qualify for membership in the VLSA.

President of VLSA and AJMLS student Domonique Jackson-Russell strongly encourages student, faculty and staff support of the newly founded organization. In a recent announcement to the law school, Jackson-Russell said, “We hope that you will consider joining and supporting the VLSA as we continue to serve, whether that be at the law school, legal community or general public.”

VLSA’s first meeting will be October 7, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 707. During the meeting members will discuss VLSA’s upcoming scholarship fundraiser event. Non-members are welcome to attend.

Visit VLSA’s OrgSync page for further information regarding the organization. For immediate questions, contact Dwayne Clay, Brian Huckaby or Domonique Jackson-Russell. To view a complete list of the law school’s student organizations, click here.

AJMLS Meets with Local Lawmakers to Discuss Recidivism and Re-entry Support for the Formerly Incarcerated

The Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning kicks off Pro Bono Month with two separate meetings with some of Atlanta’s most influential political  and community leaders to discuss strategies to reduce recidivism, ensure successful re-entry and increase public knowledge. The law school was identified as a major contributor helping formerly incarcerated persons effectively re-enter society. The first meeting will be with Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner followed by a meeting at  the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry.

The department is also excited to announce their 4th Annual Re-entry Forum to be held at the law school’s Blackburn Conference Center on October 24, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Every year Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School partners with individuals, agencies and organizations that support prisoner re-entry efforts by breaking down barriers, helping individuals and families’ transition, and advocate just treatment and transition that support preventing or reducing recidivism.

In addition to recognizing the individuals and organizations that are making great strides in the community, we also facilitate informative and interactive public discussion between academics, community, religious leaders, ex-offenders, government agencies, non-profit groups, and law students. The forum will culminate with the development of an action plan that will make the criminal justice system less devastating for families and communities impacted by incarceration.

Professor Van Detta Named the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business & Workplace Law

Dean Richardson Lynn is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, in recognition of Professor Jeffrey Van Detta’s distinguished service to the law school, his excellence as a teacher, and the breadth and depth of his scholarship, has conferred upon him a named Chair in Law:  The John E. Ryan Professor Of International Business & Workplace Law. Congratulations Professor Van Detta on this prestigious accomplishment.

Daily Report Interviews Dean Lynn about Spring Enrollment Announcement

Following Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s announcement of its new spring enrollment for prospective students, the Daily Report interviewed Dean Richardson Lynn about the law school’s decision.

For those in a hurry, Lynn said that the spring and summer semesters will comprise the first year, thus allowing a student to compress the normal three years of study into two and a half years. The school says students who enter in the spring will take criminal procedure and criminal law in their first year to ensure they are prepared for the fall semester and second year.  He says the arrangement will require more faculty resources.

“While I always urge college students planning to go to law school to take at least two years off between college and law school,” Lynn adds, “they never listen.  This is a good option for December college graduates who don’t want to wait until the following August and the handful of students who plan to start in August, but have a health or personal issue at the last minute; they could start the next January, rather than wait an entire year.”

For the full story, click here. Prospective student interested in spring admission are encouraged to speak with an admissions professional at or call (404) 872-3593 ##Ext. 261261. Information regarding our spring admission will also be discussed at the law school’s Fall Prospective Student Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Blackburn Conference Center, located on the campus of the law school. To RSVP, click here.

AJMLS Ranked No. 24 of Top Law Schools for Externships by PreLaw Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was ranked one of the nation’s top law schools for externships by PreLaw Magazine in their most recent issue. The Back to School edition includes a two-page spread of the top law schools for externship opportunities. AJMLS ranked 24th amongst schools like Brigham Young University (5th) and Drexel University (21st).

According to PreLaw Magazine, “Externship programs continue to expand each year as law school strive to teach more real-life skills and students seek the experience employers’ desire.” The article goes on to say, “Legal educators have been calling for more experiential opportunities since the early 1990s. Now, fueled by the need to better prepare graduates, law school are responding.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would like to recognize Renata Turner and Bridgett Ortega in our Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department for their hard work and commitment to maximizing opportunities for students through experiential learning.

For the full article from PreLaw Magazine, click here.

Professor Rapping Interviewed by The Seattle Times in Indigent Defense Case

Jon Rapping, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor and founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, a national organization aimed at improving indigent defense, was recently interviewed by The Seattle Times regarding an ongoing indigent-defense case.

The Seattle Times reports:

Today, many in America’s legal and law-enforcement communities — from judges and prosecutors to defense lawyers — believe the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright, grounded in the Sixth Amendment, has mostly gone unfulfilled. To prove it, some point to Mount Vernon and Burlington.

The Skagit County towns are at the center of a groundbreaking class-action civil-rights lawsuit over indigent defense filed two years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging misdemeanor defendants were given little more than a “meet ’em, greet ’em and plead ’em” defense by a pair of public defenders expected to handle more than 2,000 cases a year.

Now, with a Seattle-based U.S. District Court judge set to rule on the case, Mount Vernon and Burlington may become part of an unprecedented solution — the first-ever federal-court takeover of a public-defender system.

The goal, Rapping said, should be that the indigent accused “receive the same kind of representation that you or I would pay for.” The reality at this point, however, is that most public-defender agencies — including the federal Public Defender’s Office — are struggling with budget cuts and a paucity of resources, he said. “It’s unfortunate, but over the years we have become accustomed to a lower standard of justice for poor people,” Rapping said.

To read the full article, click here.

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Names AJMLS Alumna as New Policy Fellow

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health announces Jemila Lea as their new Policy Fellow. A Texas native, Lea joins the foundation after receiving her Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the spring of 2013. Prior to law school, Lea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in general studies with an emphasis in legal studies from Texas Woman’s University.

Interested in mental health and child advocacy, Lea interned during her time in law school with the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council’s Office of the Mental Health Advocate, where she assisted with representation and monitoring of defendants who had been acquitted with a plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). Additionally, internships with the Honorable Brent Carr in Tarrant County and the Office of the Public Defender Flint Judicial Circuit supplemented her knowledge of mental health policy with valuable experience in a legal setting. A dedicated child advocate, Lea has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in her home county of Tarrant, Texas, and received Excellence in Pro Bono recognition during her law school graduation.

As a policy fellow, Lea will continue policy work at the Texas capitol initiated by previous fellows and program officers on behalf of the foundation, advocating for systemic change in mental health policy in Texas.

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations to Jemila Lea on this amazing accomplishment! For more on the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, click here.

AJMLS Alumni Elected to Positions in Young Lawyers Division

Recently alumni from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School were elected to the Member-at-Large Representative of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Executive Council position. The alumni include Boris Y. Milter (’11), Jackson E. Oliver (’11), and Tiffany M. Simmons (’09). The YLD has been strengthened over the years through guidance by the State Bar of Georgia, its Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Supreme Court, and through dedicated service rendered by its members. In keeping with its motto of “working for the profession and the public,” the YLD has 27 hard-working committees that provide service to the public, the profession and the Bar through an array of projects and programs. Through the years, the YLD has also gained national recognition by winning several American Bar Association awards for its projects and publications. On behalf of the law school, congratulations to our outstanding alumni.

Professor Mears Reappointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee of the State Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Micheal Mears was recently reappointment to a very important State Bar of Georgia committee.  He has been honored to be appointed to the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.  This committee of the State Bar deals with matters relating to the post conviction of defendants in death penalty cases and reports any recommendations to the Board of Governors.

In discussing his appointment, Professor Mears stated, “I know that we all serve the Bar in various ways and serve on important committees and task forces.” He went on to say, “I am especially proud of this Committee Assignment over these past years because it has given me such a great opportunity to continue the work of so many lawyers, both prosecutors and defense attorneys, in addressing the life and death issues of the death penalty.” Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Mears on his most recent appointment.

Upcoming Gideon’s Army Premiere Receives Increased Media Attention

The upcoming HBO premiere of the documentary Gideon’s Army is already receiving rave reviews from national publications and local papers. The film follows the personal stories of Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Backed by mentor and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan “Rap” Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year.

Gideon’s Army in the Press

The New York Times

The Grio

Attorney General Eric Holder Acknowledges Professor Rapping for Work with Gideon’s Promise

At the American Film Institute’s recent screening of Gideon’s Army, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the film’s impact in the legal community. “Gideon’s Army is a documentary that challenges each of us – as legal professionals, as policymakers, and as patriotic citizens from all backgrounds and walks of life – to reclaim the values enshrined in this important ruling, to ask difficult questions about our criminal justice system as a whole, and to recommit ourselves – as individuals, and as a people – to realizing the founding promise that has always stood at the core of our identity as a nation:  of equal justice, and equal opportunity, for all,” says Holder.

He goes on to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jon Rapping. Holder says, “Under the leadership of remarkable men and women like Jon Rapping – the founder of Gideon’s Promise, formerly known as the Southern Public Defender Training Center, who we’re fortunate to have with us tonight – they’re fighting to make a difference, once case at a time.  They’re working to restore and improve public defender programs that – in some places – do little more than process people in and out of our courts.”

Rapping later participated in a panel discussion about the film. To read the Attorney General’s full speech, click here. Below please view at short video of  opening day at the American Film Festival where the film was debuted – the first minute of the video discusses Gideon’s Army.

Daily Report Covers HBO Documentary Premiere of AJMLS Professor’s Non-Profit Organization

Scheduled to air on HBO on July 1, Gideon’s Army, which features the law school’s own Professor Jon Rapping’s non-profit organization Gideon’s Promise, held a private screening on June 11. The Daily Report was one of the many media outlets present to cover the event. They reported:

“Three years in the making, Gideon’s Army tells the stories of two Georgia public defenders, Travis Williams and Brandy Alexander, and Mississippi lawyer June Hardwick as they fight for their clients while juggling enormous caseloads and big student loan payments on low salaries.

Gideon’s Army provoked crying, laughter and spontaneous applause during the Atlanta screening. In the film Williams and Alexander work doggedly to help two clients, both teenage boys charged with armed robbery, fight prosecution in a system where high bonds, steep mandatory sentences and limited resources wear down even the most dedicated public defenders.

HBO bought Gideon’s Army after seeing just 20 minutes of footage, Porter said. The film went on to win the Sundance Film Festival’s Editing Award in January.”

To view the full Daily Report article, click here. Once again, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is appreciative of the attention and community support Professor Rapping and his organization have received.